This article on transfers highlights the difficult choices and competing factors that schemes and trustees have to balance and also how this tension has now increased.
The Regulator stresses the need for transfers (in this case DC to DC) to happen promptly as otherwise members may lose out.
At the same time trustees may be considering:
- the increased number of pensions scams at present;
- the volatility in the markets (whilst trustees recognise that they cannot give investment advice to their members).
To help prevent pensions scams, trustees will naturally want to ask further details from members and this may require additional audit and time.
Also trustees may want to check their member comms again and update them in the current circumstances.
In short, there are pressures to act quickly and pressures to take time. On this we would recommend clear service standards with members are set out and potentially revised. Also it is key that there is ongoing dialogue with the Regulator and others on expectations across the industry.
Lastly audit of communications with members, including any member specific reasons why transfers are delayed becomes increasingly important.
TPR has updated its guidance to remind trustees that switches between defined contribution schemes are a “core financial transaction” and a common way for savers to access their pension funds so should continue to remain a priority throughout the coronavirus crisis.