Pension transfer platform publishes switching times

Pensions technology firm Origo has for the first time published the average pension cash transfer performance of the providers that use its digital transfer service.

The data, which measures 27 of the 100 providers using its platform over the past year, shows that the overall average ceding transfer time is 9.3 days, ranging from five days for Canada Life and NFU Mutual to 29 days for Hargreaves Lansdown.

The group said that it is the first step towards improving transfer times across the industry, however, the data provided does not give an impression of total occupational transfer times across the industry, thought to take on average around 55 days.

PensionBee head of corporate development and Origo Transfer Service member, Clare Reilly, said: “This is about the consumer and giving consumers the same level of transfer transparency that they already have in current account switching and energy account switching.

“Sometimes firms have a hierarchy or it takes a long time to make decisions, but I imagine we are going to see more and more of the community over time sign up. The longer term goal is to get occupational schemes to sign up.”

The current data set accounts for 80 per cent of all the transfers that go through the service, and it expects more of its providers to join over time.

Origo managing director, Anthony Rafferty, commented: “It is important to remember that not all transfers are simple or the same and can be affected by numerous influencing factors, with an inevitable impact on the time taken to transfer.

“These include product and investment vehicle complexity, customer protection and risk management measures, illiquid asset divestment requirements and regulatory requirements, among others.”

The group plans to publish the data on a quarterly bases.

The initiative is set to work alongside Star, the government-backed industry group which aims to bring down the amount of time it takes a member to transfer their pension savings.

Raffterty added: “Star is a great initiative that we are behind, it will be some time before they start to publish transfer times, and once they do it will be much more holistic with a much bigger data set. So we will have a decision to make, once they start, will we continue, but we will use the data anyway.”

Furthermore, the transfer group believes that the data could be used with the pensions dashboard, in order to give consumers more information about the provider they choose.

Reilly said: “It will really important when the dashboard comes, because when people are deciding when they want to move they will take this into account.

“Consumers also for the first time will see official figures on how long it should take and hold their own provider to account when it doesn’t.”

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