'Difficult' transfer processes putting savers off changing pension provider

More than two-fifths (42 per cent) of savers who have tried to change pension providers found it so difficult that they would not attempt another transfer, according to PensionBee.

Research from the provider also found that more than half (51 per cent) of those who attempted transfers cited encountering some kind of difficulty with support from their provider, with 22 per cent specifically reporting long waiting times.

Consequently, 9 per cent of respondents stated that they gave up on the transfer after multiple failed attempts.

PensionBee also noted that, despite electronic transfers being recognised as faster, more efficient and secure, 50 per cent of savers who had attempted to transfer a defined contribution scheme were asked to complete paperwork, with more than a quarter (27 per cent) having to work through multiple sets of forms.

It noted that, despite efforts to increase the speed of pension transfers over the last five years, data published by Origo Options in July showed that the average time taken for a transfer is now increasing, having risen to 12.5 days in the second quarter of 2021.

However, a case study detailed by PensionBee showed that some savers can end up waiting for more than seven months for a transfer to go through if there are issues with paperwork, identification and response times.

PensionBee CEO, Romi Savova, commented: “Long and complex processes deter people from engaging with their pensions and switching when it may be in their best interests to do so. Low levels of digitisation exacerbate chronic under-saving because people don’t have the right tools and information to understand the importance of planning ahead for their financial future.

“Technology provides an opportunity for the industry to better engage savers, and it’s time for pensions to make their way into the 21st century with a simple, modern pension switch guarantee.”

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