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Fall in Q3 pension investments ends 2016 upward trend

Pension investments in the third quarter dropped for the first time this year, down by £0.38 billion according to data from Equifax Touchstone, a leading financial intermediary and customer profiling provider. Inflows for the quarter (including transfers) stood at £7.98 billion, a fall of 4.6% on the previous quarter, but up 7.7% (£0.57 billion) year-on-year.

The data, which covers more than 90% of the UK’s leading life and pensions companies, shows that
SIPP sales (transfers and single premiums) were down 5.5% (£0.23 billion) compared to Q2, personal pensions fell 9.0% (£0.13 billion) and individual stakeholder pension investments plummeted by 65.0% to just £12.5 million.

Overall, new pension investments (excluding transfers) were £3.91 billion, down 8% (£0.34 billion) on Q2. Transfers were more resilient, down by 1.2% (£47.9 million) to £4.07 billion, marking the continued demand for investors to make adjustments to their retirement arrangements to access the right product for their needs.

John Driscoll, Director at Equifax Touchstone, said: “Pension investments in the third quarter went against the upward trend seen so far this year, as market uncertainty and volatility from events including Brexit hit investor sentiment.

“Growth in pension inflows over the last two years has however emphasised the awareness clients have about the tax benefits of pensions, despite market volatility. Data from HMRC also of course confirms that many clients are continuing to take advantage of pension freedoms. As a result, we expect 2017 to remain a very active year for pensions.

“Transfers in particular are an interesting area to watch; we expect there will be further increases in transfer volumes as ‘insistent’ clients consider final salary transfers in order to access their savings.”

Equifax Touchstone utilises intermediary and customer profiling tools to enable financial services providers obtain a detailed understanding of their marketplace and client base.

 Pension type

Q2 2016

Q3 2016

Total pension investments (including transfers)



Total pension investments (excluding transfers)



Flexible drawdown (single premium)



Flexible drawdown (transfer)



Individual stakeholder pensions (single premium)



Individual stakeholder pensions (transfer)

£ 4,753,410


Lifetime pension income (annuities)



Pension Trans.1



Personal (single premium)



SIPP (single premium)



SIPP (transfer)



Please note:
1 Pension Trans. reflects transfers into Personal Pensions only, not SIPPs or stakeholder pensions
• Figures are representative and designed to illustrate trends – not all product providers submitting data to Touchstone can provide a breakdown between SIPP and flexible drawdown transfers
• Figures do not include regular premiums