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XPS Pensions Group

After an unsteady period, defined benefit (DB) pension transfer values increased to a record high during June and the number of members taking a transfer value rebounded strongly too.

A slight shift to less expensive SIPPs has resulted in a modest improvement in outcomes for pension scheme members choosing to transfer when compared to last year, according to a new survey.

Pension group XPS has reported flat profits for the 12 months ending 31 March at £11.4m but remains positive about the year ahead.

One in three pension schemes have appointed - or are considering appointing - an IFA to give advice to members, according to data from pensions admins administrator XPS Pensions.
Transfer valued endured a volatile September, according to the latest data from XPS Pensions Group.
Over 400 trustees and employers of UK pensions schemes attending the XPS Pensions Group’s annual conference last week believe they must “make a difference to climate change”, with 60% of schemes having already moved away from a traditional investment approach.
XPS Administration, part of XPS Pensions Group, has been awarded silver level accreditation by Investors in People the international standard for people management.

XPS Pensions Group (XPS) has appointed Harry Harper as head of risk transfer, the firm has revealed.


The firm says the new hire will “further build upon XPS’s capabilities to engage and assist clients in reaching their end-goal of buyout”.
 
Prior to joining XPS, Mr Harper led JLT’s buyout and buy-in team for two years and prior to that was a member of Mercer’s buyout team.

 

He was responsible for the UK’s first “all risks” insurance transaction, the first buyout from Pension Protection Fund assessment and the first online bulk annuity e-auction.
 
Patrick McCoy, head of advisory at XPS Pensions Group, said: “Harry is a perfect fit for XPS, with his experience of innovative bulk annuity transactions, covering multi billion pound pension schemes down to the more modest regional schemes.

“This will strengthen our offering and ability to serve the full range of pension schemes, to the very highest standard.”
 
Mr Harper said: “I am excited to join XPS, a fast growing and ambitious organisation with a clear aim of putting scheme’s interests at the very front of everything we do.

“I look forward to the opportunity to rapidly drive the pensions risk transfer industry forward.”

DB transfer values rose to record highs in August 2019, while the number of members requesting a transfer value continues to increase, according to XPS Transfer Watch.


XPS Pensions Group’s ‘Transfer Value Index’ jumped sharply to an all-time high of £258,200 on 21 August 2019; up from £247,400 at the end of July 2019.

The increase was said to have been “largely driven by a significant fall in gilt yields during August, partially offset by a small fall in inflation expectations”. 

XPS Pensions Group reported an increase in the number of transfer quotes being requested across some of its schemes, with some members choosing to pay for an updated calculation with transfer values at their peak. 

 

Mark Barlow, partner, XPS Pensions Group, said: “The impacts of recent volatile markets have seen transfer values increase steadily over the last two months, with an all time high in August.

“The continuing fall in gilt yields has pushed transfer values to new record highs, around 10% higher than they were this time last year.

“Although there is a lot of uncertainty around the future of the financial markets, an increase in transfer values will mean we are likely to see a lot of members investigating their options.
 
“Trustees and sponsors should ensure that members considering long term irreversible decisions are being provided with sufficient education and support to enable them to make the right decision for their circumstances and financial futures.

“We would also recommend schemes consider how the substantial changes in market conditions have affected the funding strategy and whether, in light of this, the transfer value basis remains appropriate.”

Transfer values rose during July 2019, while the number of DB transfers also increased, according to XPS Transfer Watch, which monitors how market developments have affected transfer values for an example member, as well as how many members are choosing to take a transfer value.
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