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Options initiative improves annuity transfer times

The pensions industry's ‘Options' initiative has delivered significant improvements in its first three months of operation, cutting the time taken for annuity transfers between providers to an average of just eight calendar days. That's an improvement of over three weeks on previous performance[1] and a boost for consumers, who will see annuity policies processed through Options being set up much more quickly.

The system, developed by Origo, the e-commerce standards and services body, is designed to speed up the exchange of information and funds as part of the annuity transfer process, including those carried out under the Open Market Option (OMO). Performance is expected to further improve over time as refinements are made and more providers start to use the system.

Maggie Craig, the ABI's Director of Life and Savings, said:

"This is very good news for annuity customers, and a real success for the pensions industry. Pension and annuity providers, and the ABI, were determined to improve performance on transfer payment times. The ‘Options' initiative has got off to a great start in achieving this goal.

"‘Options' directly benefits the vast majority of customers who want to move between annuity providers. It makes the whole process significantly easier for customers and advisers, meaning policies will be set up much more quickly than ever before. We aim to make further enhancements to the system soon, including extending its operation to other forms of pensions transfer."


[1] A pre-Options pilot scheme achieved an average transfer time of 31 days.


Last updated 01/07/2016