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The best and worst pension providers of 2017

7 March 2018

5:59 PM

7 March 2018

5:59 PM

How do you go about choosing a pension plan? For many of us – especially if you are part of a workplace pension – it’s something you tend to just accept. Bearing that in mind, the recent research done by Portafina into the response times of various different pension providers might make you think twice about simply accepting whichever pension scheme comes your way.

While the most responsive Defined Contribution pension providers took a relatively short time to provide basic information needed to advise clients ­(just over a week), the worst performing schemes took over five weeks to provide similar information.

When it comes to Defined Benefit (Final Salary) schemes, the results were even more dramatic. While the best performing company, Diageo, took 1.6 weeks to respond, the East Riding of Yorkshire Council took an average of 17.1 weeks to respond.

These results refer to the year up to October 2017 – which means that the pension freedom which was introduced in the tax year of 2015/16 might well have played a contributing factor. It’s perhaps understandable that this new method of using your pensions savings will have caused problems for private pension providers. But that can hardly be an excuse; after all, every pension provider will have had to cope with similar demands. Indeed, as Jamie Smith-Thompson, managing director of Portafina, commented:

‘We know that demand for pension freedoms access has put a strain on many providers and for those who have coped, it is a testament to how effectively they have recruited and geared up for it. It isn’t a great surprise to see councils generally struggling to cope as they are clearly under great pressure budget-wise. That doesn’t help the client though, and there is ultimately a limit to what is legally acceptable.’

2017 Results for Defined Contribution Schemes:

Fastest DC schemes based on average number of weeks to provide information

  1. Canada Life                                          1.2 weeks
  2. B&CE Benefit                                        1.6 weeks
  3. Hargreaves Lansdown                           1.8 weeks
  4. DHL Group Retirement Plan                   1.8 weeks
  5. Legal & General Assurance Society       2.0 weeks

 Slowest DC Schemes based on average number of weeks to provide information

  1. Equitable Life Assurance Society           5.5 weeks
  2. Mercer Ltd                                            5.4 weeks
  3. Fidelity Pension Management                 4.4 weeks
  4. Fidelity Investments                               4.4 weeks
  5. Capita                                                   4.2 weeks


2017 Results for Defined Benefit (Final Salary) Schemes:

Fastest DB Schemes based on average number of weeks to provide information

  1. Diageo Pensions                                   1.6 weeks
  2. Clerical Medical                                     2.1 weeks
  3. Prudential                                             2.4 weeks
  4. Phoenix Life Ltd                                    2.6 weeks
  5. DHL Group Retirement Plan                   2.6 weeks

Slowest DB Schemes based on average number of weeks to provide information

  1. East Riding of Yorkshire (Council)          17.1 weeks
  2. Lancashire Council                                11.1 weeks
  3. West Midlands Pension (Council)           10.3 weeks
  4. Royal Mail Pension                                10.2 weeks
  5. Strathclyde Pension (Council)                 7.3 weeks




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