Average pension transfer times increase by almost a third in two years

Ffion White

by , PR Manager

09 May 2023 /  

May 2023

People waiting in the queue.

PensionBee analysis of Origo’s Pension Transfer Index has uncovered a 31% increase in transfer times, rising from an average of 10.7 days in 2020 to 14 days in 2022. In fact, the vast majority of pension providers included in Origo’s most recent index have increased the time it takes to process transfer requests over the last two years.

Despite slow transfer times being identified as a problem by the Financial Conduct Authority back in 2015, the issue remains prevalent amongst a number of key players. This includes The People’s Pension, whose average transfer times doubled from 2020 to 2022, reaching 39.5 days; closely followed by LV= which recorded an average transfer time of 36 days and NEST at 21.8 days in 2022.

However, by participating in the Origo Index, these providers do display a commitment to transparency and the eventual improvement of their transfer times. A large number of providers and third-party administrators continue to not participate in electronic pension transfers or publicly disclose their transfer times on Origo or elsewhere, showing limited engagement in the industry’s efforts to improve transfer efficiency for consumers.

PensionBee’s own pension transfer data reveals providers that have chosen not to join Origo and/or do not process transfers electronically, such as large pension administrators, operate with extremely lengthy transfer times. XPS Administration recorded an alarming average transfer time to PensionBee of 57 days in 2022. Meanwhile, Mercer took on average 33 days, Capita 32 days, Willis Towers Watson 26 days and Aon Hewitt 24 days in the same year.

In contrast, PensionBee has consistently taken an average of 10 days to complete a pension transfer request over the same period, as is in line with its proposed ‘Pension Switch Guarantee’ which would ensure switching providers is a quick, efficient and secure process which happens electronically within 10 days.

Becky O’Connor, Director of Public Affairs at PensionBee, commented: “It’s very concerning to see a sharp rise in pension transfer times. This latest data proves just how crucial it is to move away from self-regulation within the pensions industry and instead implement a ‘10-day Pension Switch Guarantee’, a time frame the Financial Ombudsman Service is already independently enforcing. This is essential to help restore confidence and trust in the pension system, allowing consumers to take control of their financial future and plan ahead for a happy retirement.

Customers deserve to have an effective pension transfer process and the ability to voice complaints to the Ombudsman, giving them the same switching rights as is seen in other markets.”


Table 1: Overall average transfer times in days from 2020-2022

2020 2021 2022 % change over time
Overall average transfer time (days) 10.7 13.4 14.0 30.8

Source: Origo Pension Transfer Index 2020, 2021.

Table 2: Overall average transfer times in days from 2020-2022 (top three slowest pension providers)

2020 2021 2022 % change over time
The People’s Pension 12.8 28.1 39.5 208.6
LV= 26.2 25.1 36.0 37.4
NEST 12.3 20.1 21.8 77.2

Source: Origo Pension Transfer Index 2020, 2021.

Table 3: Overall average transfer times in days to PensionBee in 2022 from providers who do not disclose transfer times on Origo and/or do not process transfers electronically

XPS Administration 57
Capita 33
Willis Towers Watson 26
Aon Hewitt 24

Source: PensionBee, February 2023. Overall average transfer is calculated by the time between transfer forms were sent and the date funds were received by PensionBee.

Be pension confident!

Combine your old pension pots into one new online plan. It takes just 5 minutes to sign up.

Get started

Mobile PensionBee analytics chart
Mobile PensionBee analytics chart
Apple Store logo Google Store logo

Have a question?Call our UK team020 3457 8444

Monday-Friday: 9:30am-5pm