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Volume of transfers out of DB schemes

FOI reference - FOI-4819
Date - 25 June 2020

Request

I would like to request data on the volume of transfers out of defined benefit (DB) pension schemes and the total value of those transfers, year-to-date, under the terms of the Freedom of Information Act. I would also be grateful if you were able to provide the equivalent data for the year 2019 (1 January 2019 – 31 December 2019).

Response

I can confirm that we are unable to supply the information requested for the reasons set out below.

Information we are not able to supply

Unfortunately, we are unable to provide the information that has been requested reliably (i.e. completely, for all schemes who have reported transfers for at least one period), over any discrete time period. 
This is because of the manner in which the data is collected via our annual scheme return process, and the phrasing of the question pertaining to this information - specifically:

  • we ask schemes to tell us the number and value of transfers as at the last reporting date (i.e. usually the latest reported annual scheme accounts)
  • the nature of the process therefore means that there is a time lag in the figures as they relate to the 12 months up to the scheme year end of the most recent report and accounts produced prior to the effective date of the scheme return submission
  • for the scheme return submission period for 2018/19 for instance, around 96% of the returns relate to the 12-month period up to scheme year endings between April 2017 to February 2019, i.e. they can relate to transfers that go back as far as March 2016. Over 50% have year-end dates of either 31 December 2017 or 31 March 2018

Please see: Section 25 of the Defined and Mixed Benefit Scheme Example Form: 

https://www.thepensionsregulator.gov.uk/-/media/thepensionsregulator/files/import/pdf/db-scheme-return-example-form.ashx