PASA launches DB Transfer Code consultation

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The Pensions Administration Standards Association is consulting on an industry code of best practice for DB to DC transfers, developed with administrators, consultants and financial advisers, as well as the Pensions Regulator and the Financial Conduct Authority.

PASA aims to publish the final code in September. The consultation closes at the end of April.

Responses should be sent to

The code proposes that straightforward transfers should take no longer than 20 days to complete, including 7-10 days for issuing a quote, and up to 10 days for processing the transfer if the member decides to go ahead.

Speaking the association's annual conference on Tuesday, PASA president Margaret Snowdon said the code aims to "create balance between safety and speed", noting that 80% of transfers should fall into the category that can be transferred swiftly.

PASA published guidance on how to process such straightforward cases, but Snowdon said the group had felt that guidance was not strong enough.  "We felt we needed to make progress a lot more quickly," she said, adding: "It is very unclear how many people took the guidance to heart."

Although the new code will be voluntary, Snowdon suggested that the Pensions Ombudsman might take into account whether schemes have adhered to it in cases that are disputed.

The code includes questions such as whether members requesting a transfer quote should automatically be given an early retirement calculation if they are eligible.

Chair of the PASA DB Transfers Working Group, James Ellison, said: “The time taken to process defined benefit (DB) transfers varies hugely, some taking months to execute. Unfortunately, delays damage relationships with scheme members and lead to a breakdown of trust. This can result in members making decisions which are not in their best interest, or worse still, increase the risk of becoming victims of pension scams."