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Pension transfer times up by just half a day during lockdown

16 July 2020

Average UK pension transfer times increased by just half a day during the second quarter, despite significant disruptions to business operations during the Covid-19 lockdown. 

The average ceding transfer time in the 12 months to end of March 2020 was 8.8 days, according to data recorded by the Origo Transfer Index. For the year to end of June 2020, the transfer time increased to 9.4 days.

For the simplest cases, the 12 month average to 31 March 2020 was 7 days, with a slight increase to 7.3 days in the year to end of June.

The Origo Transfer Index measures the average time taken to cede a pension from one provider to another. The data is published on a quarterly basis by a group of providers using the Origo Transfer Service, accounting for around 80% of the transfers through the service.

Anthony Rafferty, managing director, Origo, said: “The imposition of lockdown across the UK saw pension providers’ usual processes significantly disrupted, which had an inevitable initial impact on the transfer market. This saw a temporary increase in transfer times as the market adjusted to the new environment, but following that brief initial period, it has been business ‘almost as usual’.

Rafferty added: “The ability of the industry to maintain transfer performance is due to the effective response of providers and financial advice firms to the crisis, and the automation of the transfer process through the Origo Transfer Service, which has enabled transfers to be carried out as quickly and efficiently as possible despite the dramatic effects of lockdown on companies across the UK.

“Assuming lockdown restrictions will continue to be eased over the next few months, we anticipate that overall the transfer market will remain robust in 2020.”

Colin Campbell, chair, Origo Transfer Service Steering Group, added: “The fact that during this unprecedented period for the industry, transfer times have been kept to little more than half-a-day of the average before lockdown, is testament to the efficiency of providers’ systems and operations and the Origo Transfer Service.

“Pension transfers processes are significantly improved by automation and when crises occur, as they do from time to time, having the ability to maintain operations at the same high level has to be good for the industry and for consumer outcomes.”


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