DB pension transfers total £60bn in three years

The total value of defined benefit pension scheme transfers since 2016 has reached £60bn, Royal London has revealed.

In a Freedom of Information response, The Pensions Regulator (TPR) disclosed that 390,000 people had used pension freedoms to access their DB pots since 2016.

The largest volume and value of transfers took place in 2018/19, when 210,000 people accessed £34bn of pension savings.

In 2017/18 100,000 individuals transferred £14bn from DB schemes, while in 2016/17 it was estimated that 80,000 people accessed £12bn worth of DB savings.

“These figures show the continuing huge interest in using pension freedoms to access pension rights in a more flexible way,” stated Royal London director of policy, Steve Webb.

“Although the volume of transfers has probably passed its peak, large numbers of people are still interested in seeing whether reshaping their pension benefits would be in their interests.”

Although the 2018/19 figures were the highest of the three years assessed, TPR expects the total number of transfers to date to be much higher as most of the 2018/19 data relates to transfers in the 12 months to 31 December 2017 or 31 March 2018.

Furthermore, the figures are estimates as not all schemes reporting that transfers took place have reported exactly how many transfers they carried out or transfer values.

Webb added: “It remains the case that staying in a DB scheme will be the right answer for most people, but there may be individual reasons why a different combination of pensions would give a better outcome.

“In such cases it is vital that there continues to be a supply of impartial and expert financial advice for those considering making such a big decision.”

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