The time taken to transfer pensions during the coronavirus lockdow only increased marginally, despite the significant disruption to usual business operations.
Data collated by Origo show that during the second quarter of this year, with lockdown at its peak, the transfer market as whole maintained levels of performance.
The Origo Transfer Index (OTI) showed that in the 12 months to the end of March 2020, the average ceding transfer time was 8.8 days. For the year to end of June 2020 that has increased to just 9.4 days.
For simpler cases, the 12 month average to 31 March 2020 was 7 days. To the end of June 2020 simpler transfers took a similar 7.3 days.
Origo points out that it is important to note that these are calendar rather than working days.
Origo managing director Anthony Rafferty says: “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’.
“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 of the Origo Transfer Service Steering Group, says: “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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