The average pension transfer times

Edward Savage
Personal Finance Editor
May 18, 2024

In a nutshell

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Transferring a pension is becoming more popular these days, with more people taking more control over their retirement savings, and there’s been a few great new pension providers (companies) popping up offering an all round great service (e.g. easy to use, and great customer support).

But, are the old traditional providers dragging their heels and making it hard to transfer your pension to a new provider? Holding your money for as long as possible? Let’s take a look at the average pension transfer times and see who’s doing well, and not so well.

Data used

We’ve used data provided to Nuts About Money by Origo, for the dates 1st April 2023 to 31st March 2024. Origo is the company behind the scenes handling most pension transfers in the UK.

The data collected counts the average number of days from when the money is requested by your new provider (who requests it directly from your existing provider). Therefore can provide a fair representation of how long each provider takes to actually send the money to your new provider.

Note: not every provider has provided their data, as it’s optional, but the providers who did amounted to 92% of all pension transfers.

The average pension transfer time

Overall, the average pension transfer time is 12.3 days (calendar days, not working days). 

So on average, just under 2 weeks for your money to turn up in a new account.

We’ll let you decide if you’re happy with that or not. 

We think it’s quite a long time, and it would be great to see this come down to under a week in future, or even a few days. Although we appreciate it depends on what type of investments you have within your pension, and the necessary admin and time that goes along with selling them, and the transfer itself (your pension can contain one or a lot of different investments).

Average time by pension provider

Let’s take a look at the time it takes each pension provider to transfer your pension.

Forester Life comes out top as the quickest, with a great 5.2 days. After that it’s MetLife with 6.1 days, and in third place it’s NFU Mutual with 7 days. Well done all.

Average pension transfer times

Surprisingly, Vanguard came in rock bottom, with an average time of 24.8 days!

Aviva and PensionBee, two companies that you might be more familiar with (and might even have a pension with), have good results, with 9.5 and 10.1 days respectively.

Here’s the results for each pension provider in the UK:

Provider Number of days
Forester Life 5.2
MetLife 6.1
NFU Mutual 7
Clerical Medical 8
Fidelity 8.9
Aviva 9.5
Legal & General 9.8
Wealthtime 10
PensionBee 10.1
ReAssure 10.7
Aegon 11.1
Standard Life 11.5
Zurich Group 11.5
Hargreaves Lansdown 11.8
Phoenix Group 12.2
Prudential 12.7
Scottish Widows 12.7
Elevate (part of Standard Life) 12.8
Parmenion Capital Partners 12.9
Royal London 13
Novia 14.5
Canada Life 14.5
Quilter 14.6
Nest 16.5
Advance by Embark Platform 17.5
InvestAcc 18.2
Smart Pension 18.6
People’s Partnership 19.1
LV= 24.7
Vanguard 24.8

Data provided to Nuts About Money by Origo.

This is the average time, so your actual time may vary depending on things like the provider service levels and if there are any issues with your specific pension.

What is a pension transfer?

A pension transfer is where one provider sends your money within your pension to a new provider. You’ll decide which pension provider to use, and if you’d like to transfer your pension.

Transfer pension

Why are there differences between providers?

Each company has their own way of operating, with different numbers of staff and different ways of doing things, which can result in different timeframes for transfers. Some providers will need to sell investments too, which can take a few days.

It’s also thought some companies slow things down a bit so they can keep hold of your pension a bit longer than they should, so they can earn a little bit more cash (the fees you pay them for holding your pension). Although we couldn’t confirm or deny!

Are you with a top provider?

It’s a great idea to keep on top of your pension savings, so you can make sure you’re on track for a comfortable retirement – and a big part of that is making sure your pension is with a great provider, and growing nicely over time in the way you’d like.

Good pension providers

For instance, if you’ve got lots of old pensions from jobs, and not sure what they’re doing, or even how much is in them, this could affect your retirement income in future – you might be paying high fees, and they might not be growing in value much over time. (Small improvements now could mean massive gains over time.)

That’s why transferring pensions and consolidating your pension (combining all your pensions) is very sensible (and popular). You can make sure your pension is with a great pension provider, growing well, and on track to give you that comfortable retirement you deserve.

Pension consolidation

If you’re keen to learn more, here’s our guide to the best private pensions.

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