We are the voice of insurance and long-term savings | Contact us

More consumers benefit under Options initiative

The ABI has today reported that more customers than ever are benefitting from quicker processing times for pensions and annuity changes.  The Options transfer initiative has seen the addition of new pension providers and an increased volume of transfers for the end of 2009.  Participating pension and annuity providers took an average 11 days to complete Open Market Option transfers in Q4 2009, compared to a pre-Options average of 31 days.   The Options scheme, launched in December 2008, is designed to speed up the exchange of information and funds between pension and annuity providers.


Open Market Option (OMO)

Over 12,000 OMO and Immediate Vesting Personal Pension (IVPP) transfers were completed via Options in Q4, with the average time taken to transfer funds between providers at 11 days - the same figure as Q3 and Q2 2009. This comes despite the volumes of transfers increasing by 70% from Q1 to Q4 2009.  37% of the transfers in Q4 2009 were completed in less than seven days.


Pension Transfers

Options has also delivered major improvements to pension transfers. The initiative has reduced pension transfer times from a pre-Options industry average of 36 days to just 11 via Options in Q4 2009, with nearly 6,000 pension transfers completed via Options.


Maggie Craig, ABI Director of Life & Savings, said:


"Options has made an enormous impact in its first year of operation, and these results demonstrate that success. Historically, processes for transferring DC pension benefits have sometimes been more difficult and time-consuming than consumers, advisers or providers would want and our aim from the start has been to put this right.


"Despite the addition of new pension providers and increased transfer volumes performance has remained steady. With more set to join the service and the number of transfers continuing to increase, Options demonstrates the industry's ability to pull together to achieve better customer service. Further improvements will be made so that these results are built on in 2010."


16 major pension providers are now using Options for OMO and IVPP transfers, with a further eight companies now live for the pension-to-pension transfer service launched in August 2009.  Abbey Life and Windsor Life have also signed up to Options and are expected to go live by end April, with further provider announcements expected shortly.

Last updated 01/07/2016