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Closed firms take months for transfers

Closed life offices provide the worst delays on pension transfers when a consumer buys an annuity on the open market.

Research from Partnership Assurance shows that closed life offices have been getting progressively worse on transfer times. Phoenix is one of the worst performers, taking an average of 39 working days to complete transfers over the past three years.

In 2007, Phoenix took an average of 36 working days to transfer cases but so far this year it is taking 61 days.

Pearl has also been getting worse, with an average of 22 days in 2006 and 2007 and 34 days this year.

Windsor Life has taken an average of 35 days over the past three years to complete transfers.

The Association of British Insurers’ statement of best practice used to state that transfers should be completed within 14 days but this has rec- ently been updated to a more stringent guide suggesting that transfers should be completed on the client’s specified retirement date.

Hargreaves Lansdown senior pension analyst Laith Khalaf says: “Most companies seem to be going sideways or even backwards. The one that really stands out is Phoenix, where investors are waiting months for transfers to take place and we know this to be the case from our own experience of handling open market annuities.”


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