One question that often comes up when I meet advisers around the country is whether the current volume of defined benefit to defined contribution transfers is likely to last.
It is already evident this year is likely to see a substantial increase in volumes over 2016, with advisers telling us increases of 50 per cent or more on a year earlier are not uncommon.
But what about the medium term? My view is this market could have a lot further to run.
The reason for this is that most deferred members of DB schemes appear to be largely in the dark about their pension rights. Most schemes do not regularly communicate with their deferred members, so many people have little or no idea of their current value if converted into a lump sum.
More surprising still, a recent survey by consultants Lane, Clark & Peacock found only around 30 per cent of schemes routinely provided transfer values as part of retirement communications. So at the point when members are most engaged in looking at their retirement options, the majority of schemes are still not giving them basic information about the value of the rights they already hold.
That said, trustees are increasingly being challenged about whether withholding this information is really in the best interests of scheme members.
It is understandable they do not want to be seen to provide advice or to lead members in a particular direction, but there is a risk they could be challenged for failing to provide key information about accumulated pension rights.
LCP reports that, although a minority of schemes routinely provide transfer values in retirement communications, this proportion has risen markedly in the last two years and seems set to continue.
There can be little doubt the supply of this information to more people approaching retirement will fuel a further growth in demand for transfers.
This growth could be further reinforced by the implementation of an EU directive known by the catchy title of IORP 2. This will require all occupational pension schemes to provide an annual Pension Benefit Statement to members, including deferred members.
This directive is due to be implemented by January 2019, ahead of the UK leaving the EU by the end of that March, so is likely to have an impact.
Many EU directives currently being implemented into UK law will be part of our law post-Brexit unless we make an active decision to abolish them.
And it is hard to think why the Government, which is interested in getting people more engaged with pension savings, would scrap a law requiring pension schemes to tell their members about their rights.
While the statement will not have to provide a transfer value, it will remind workers of rights they had forgotten about and may well prompt a renewed interest in doing something with their old pensions.
There are currently just over five million people in Britain with deferred memberships of a DB scheme. The number who undertook a DB to DC transfer last year was around 80,000. Even with a 50 per cent increase to 120,000 this year, that still barely scratches the surface of those who have such rights.
And the value of these rights is truly eye-watering. Suppose the typical deferred pension is worth a relatively modest £5,000 per year and that schemes offer a multiple of 30 times the annual pension as a lump sum.
Multiplying £5,000 times 30 for five million people suggests total potential transfer values for deferred members could approach three quarters of a trillion pounds.
While there is still a regulatory presumption the majority of these five million people should leave their money where it is, the scale of these entitlements suggests there will be enough people for whom transfers are worth serious consideration to make sure this market remains vibrant for some time to come.
Steve Webb is director of policy at Royal London