Overall pension transfer times up 45% since April 2018

The average time taken to complete an overall pension transfer increased 45 per cent from 2018/19 to 2021/22, from an average of 9.3 days to an average of 13.5 days, according to analysis from PensionBee.

The research, which used data from Origo’s Pension Transfer Index, also revealed a 23 per cent increase in the time taken to complete simpler transfer during the same period, with the "vast majority" of providers included in Origo’s first index in April 2018 slowing their transfer process.

Despite this, six providers have reported a fall in their transfer times during this period.

In addition to this, PensionBee argued that whilst the overall slowdown is a detriment to customers, those listed on the index at least display a commitment to transparency and the eventual improvement of transfer times, warning that a large number of providers continue not to participate in electronic pension transfers or publicly disclose their transfer times at all.

Commenting on the findings, PensionBee CEO, Romi Savova, said: “It’s very concerning to see a general malaise in pension transfer times.

"Particularly as a number of key players remain noticeably absent from Origio’s index, despite slow transfer times being identified as a problem by the Financial Conduct Authority back in 2015.

“This latest data proves just how crucial it is to move away from self-regulation within the pensions industry and instead implement a ‘Pension Switch Guarantee’ to restore confidence and trust in the pensions system, allowing consumers to take control of their financial future and plan ahead for a happy retirement.

“Customers deserve to have an effective process for voicing complaints to the Financial Ombudsman Service, giving them the same switching rights as is seen in other markets.”

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