How is your pension provider doing?
Getting basic information from your pension provider should be easy as pie, right? Unfortunately, it doesn’t always work out that way.
Many things are slowing pension providers down, including a massive increase in requests from people wanting to know their options following the introduction of the pension freedoms. And yet, these delays could effectively be costing people money. Especially if it means they spend longer in a high-charging, poorly performing scheme.
You may have already experienced this kind of frustration. And please believe us when we say, we know how you feel! We chase dozens of pension providers every day, for information that should be relatively simple to share.
And while we want to give our clients the answers they are looking for as quickly as possible, we also want to set realistic expectations. That’s why we have done a little digging into which pension providers respond the quickest and which take the longest to supply essential details.
Our research for 2018 covers 11,431 requests for information made by Portafina on behalf of 5,523 new clients to over 650 different defined contribution and defined benefit pension scheme providers, and scheme administrators.
So, which provider tops our fourth annual league table, and which falls short? And more importantly, does yours feature and where?
Simply the best…or the worst?
Defined Contribution (DC) Schemes: a pension scheme where contributions are invested and the size of the pot depends on the performance of investments.
Fastest DC schemes based on average number of weeks to provide information
|Hargreaves Lansdown||1.4 weeks||(3rd fastest in 2017)|
|Canada Life||1.7 weeks||(Fastest in 2017)|
|Scottish Widows||1.7weeks||(6th fastest in 2017)|
|St. James Place||1.8 weeks||(New entry)|
|Virgin Money||1.8 weeks||10th fastest in 2017|
Slowest DC Schemes based on average number of weeks to provide information
|Equitable Life Assurance Society||7.5 weeks||(Slowest in 2017)|
|The Pensions Trust||5.4 weeks|
|Mercer||5.1 weeks||(2nd slowest in 2017)|
|Aon Hewitt||4.9 weeks|
|Reliance Mutual||4.9 weeks|
Defined Benefit (DB) Schemes: a pension scheme where the amount of pension income you receive in retirement is based on how many years you’ve worked for your employer and the salary you’ve earned. Also known as final salary schemes.
Fastest DB Schemes based on average number of weeks to provide information
|Legal & General||1.5 weeks|
|The Pensions Trust||1.9 weeks|
|Lafarge UK Pension Plan||1.9 weeks|
|Railways Pension Scheme||2.0 weeks|
|DHL Group Retirement Plan||2.4 weeks|
Slowest DB Schemes based on average number of weeks to provide information
|Royal Mail Pension||22.0 weeks||(10.2 weeks in 2017)|
|Staffordshire County Council||17.2 weeks|
|Peninsula Pensions||14.0 weeks|
|Kent County Council||13.7 weeks|
|Merseyside Pension Fund||11.5 weeks|
Improvement is needed…
While the top performing companies have coped very well with the additional demand brought by the pension freedoms, the gap to the worst performers has grown considerably.
Shockingly, the slowest defined benefit scheme providers’ performance is best measured in months rather than weeks, with Royal Mail Pension taking an average of 22 weeks (5 months) to provide information. That’s 14 times slower than Legal & General and 10 weeks slower than what they were achieving last year.
For defined contribution schemes, Equitable Life Assurance Society were slowest for the second year running taking 6 weeks longer than Hargreaves Lansdown.
Generally, across both defined benefit and defined contribution schemes, the slowest providers are taking 4 weeks longer on average to provide information in 2018, then they did in 2017.