Using the pension freedoms

Up to 3-month wait for pension information.

Pension timer

At-retirement specialists, Portafina, today publishes league tables of the time pension schemes take to provide the information necessary to instigate the new pension flexibilities.

The analysis covers 12,852 requests for information made by Portafina on behalf of 7,913 clients to 1,396 different defined contribution and defined benefit pension schemes.

Fastest DB Schemes based on average number of weeks to provide information

Railways Pension                      1.9

Clerical Medical                         2.5

DHL Group Retirement Plan       2.6

Prudential*                                2.6

Legal & General             2.7


Slowest DB Schemes based on average number of weeks to provide information

Greater Manchester Pension      9.7

West Midlands Pension             10.6

Royal Mail Pension                    11.2

Civil Service Pensions               11.6

First UK Bus Pension                12.4

Fastest DC schemes based on average number of weeks to provide information

Halifax                                      1.5

Canada Life                              1.7

Fidelity Pension Management    1.9

Sanlam Financial Services         1.9

Scottish Widows                       1.9

Slowest DC Schemes based on average number of weeks to provide information

St James' Place                                    4.2

ReAssure (HSBC)                      4.3

Capita                                       4.5

Mercer Ltd                                4.9

NEST                                        5.0

Halifax tops the list for best performing provider, taking on average just 1.5 weeks to provide the information necessary to start the process of transferring a client to a scheme that provides the new pension flexibilities, including Drawdown.  Bottom of the list is NEST at 5 weeks.

For defined benefit schemes the Railways Pension schemes takes on average just 1.9 weeks which is comparable to the best DC schemes. However, making consumers wait nearly 3 months, is First UK Bus Pension taking on average 12.4 weeks.  Aberdeen-based First UK Bus is a former winner of the ‘Pension Scheme of the Year’ award, and was identified at the time as the scheme that “offers the highest quality of service, innovation and administrative efficiency to members.”

Jamie Smith-Thompson, managing director of Portafina, said, “Currently, many pension schemes are unable, or unwilling, to support the new pension flexibilities and, therefore, members of these schemes need to transfer to a provider that can. However, a transfer cannot take place until we are in receipt of the latest information and, only at that point, can we provide the necessary advice on a possible transfer. It is, therefore, incredibly important that it is provided in a timely manner.

“Clients simply don’t understand the delays as it just doesn’t seem possible to them that their financial services providers don’t have the information at the touch of a button.  The delays can be very stressful and many scheme providers urgently need to improve their response times. We believe that action is necessary and pension transfers should be as simple as changing bank accounts with clear service levels and timings that need to be adhered to.”


Call 0800 304 7288 for a friendly chat about your pension

Releasing your pension benefits early could reduce your income at retirement and therefore is only suitable for a limited number of people and circumstances.

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