DB pension transfer activity at record low as values fall to lowest point in six months

by | May 23, 2024

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The rate at which people are transferring out of their DB pensions hit a record low last month as the value of a typical transfer fell to its lowest point in six months, new analysis from XPS Pensions Group has found. 

XPS’s Transfer Activity Index hit a new low in April 2024, with an annualised rate of 14 members in every 1,000 transferring their benefits to alternative arrangements. This continues the trend of decline in transfer activity and was the fourth time the Index has fallen to a new record low in the past year. 

The fall in activity comes as transfer values remain depressed.  

 
 

XPS’s Transfer Value Index fell by 3.4% during April 2024 to £155,000. This fall comes after a relatively stable Q1 for the Index, taking transfer values to their lowest level since October 2023. The main driver of the fall is a rise in gilt yields, which has been offset slightly by a marginal increase in long term inflation expectations. 

88% of cases reviewed by the XPS Scam Protection Service in April 2024 raised at least one scam warning flag, according to XPS’s Scam Flag Index. This was unchanged from March 2024, and marked a lower rate than average over the previous year. Members continued to purchase annuities at an increased rate, which are at lower risk of being the target of scams given no investment decisions are being made. This may be due to current market conditions resulting in favourable pricing for annuities. 

Helen Cavanagh, Head of Member Options, XPS Pensions Group, said: “Transfer values have fallen again during April as gilt yields have risen, following a fairly stable start to 2024. Another new low for the XPS Transfer Activity Index reflects a longer-term trend of falling transfer volumes, which continue to persist.” 

 
 

Chart 1 – XPS Transfer Value Index 

A graph showing a number of value index

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Chart 2 – XPS Transfer Activity Index  

A graph of a graph

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Chart 3 – XPS Scam Flag Index  

 
 

Table 1 – Transfer Watch over the past 12 months 

 2023 2024 
 May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Jan Feb Mar Apr 
XPS Transfer Value Index (£000s) 159 162  161 159 154 152 156 164 158 158 160 155 
XPS Transfer Activity Index (%) 0.55 0.25 0.19 0.28 0.21 0.22 0.21 0.18 0.19 0.15 0.19 0.14 
XPS Scam Flag Index (%) 93 95 93 86 92 84 90 90 84 87 88 88 

Source: XPS Pensions Group – All data is at the end of each month. 

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