Over 3 in 4 pension transfers raise red flags in April

A record high 78% of pension transfers raised at least one warning sign of potential scam activity in April.

Scam warnings have now risen for the last four consecutive months, according to XPS Pension Group’s Scam Flag Index tracker.

Recent falls in the Transfer Value Index also gathered pace, with the month-end value of £232,000 representing a fall of 5% compared to the end of March.

XOS said the fall in transfer values was caused primarily by a further rise in gilt yields and has offset increases in long term inflation expectations.

The Transfer Activity Index also continued to fall, with the number of members completing transfers falling to an annualized rate of 35 members out of every 10,000, down from 38 in March.

Mark Barlow, head of member options at XPS Pensions Group, said: “With inflation hitting unprecedented levels in recent years, members may be looking to their pension to help cope with the cost-of-living crisis. However, transfer values have fallen by 15% since November due to increasing interest rates, so we advise caution and that members think carefully before accessing their pension in this way. It is crucial that pension schemes take steps now to support their members in making such important decisions.”

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The XPS Transfer Watch monitors how market developments affect transfer values for an example member, as well as how many members are choosing to take a transfer value. XPS Pensions Group’s Transfer Value Index shows the estimated Cash Transfer Value of a 64-year-old member with a pension of £10,000 a year with typical inflation increases. The value changes over time with market movements. Mortality assumptions are reviewed periodically.

XPS Pensions Group’s Transfer Activity Index represents the annualised proportion of members that transfer out of pension schemes administered by XPS. If replicated across all private sector, funded, UK, DB schemes this indicates that approximately 50,000 DB members leave their schemes each year

XPS Pensions Group’s Scam Flag Index tracks the percentage of monthly transfers reviewed by the businesses’ scam protection service that are identified as having warning ‘flags’ which indicate that the member is at risk of being scammed. The flags monitored include both the DWP’s set list of amber and red warnings and further areas of concern identified and monitored by XPS’ Scam Protection Service.

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Over 3 in 4 pension transfers raise red flags in April