Halifax and Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) have respectively topped the 2016 defined contribution and defined benefit league tables of pension provider times, published by Portafina.
The pension advice specialist's annual lists benchmark the time taken by different pension schemes to provide the basic information necessary to advise clients on areas such as pension freedom.
This year, the analysis covered 9,137 requests for information made by Portafina on behalf of 6,423 clients to more than 700 different defined contribution (DC) and defined benefit (DB) pension scheme providers, over the period from 1 October 2015 to 30 September 2016.
At 1.2 weeks, Halifax was - for the second year in a row - the fastest provider to give information about DC schemes . Slowest was St James' Place, which took 4.3 weeks to provide basic information, dropping from the fifth slowest in 2015.
Topping the league for DB schemes was RBS, which managed to outperform all but one of the arguably less complex DC scheme providers, with an average time of 1.4 weeks. By comparison the slowest DB scheme, First UK Bus Pension, took 10 weeks to provide the same information.
Portfina managing director Jamie Smith-Thompson (pictured) said: "I am not surprised to see Halifax topping the tables again as it is one of the few companies we never have to chase. It is great to see it takes customer service so seriously and that it is so consistent.
"Overall we have seen a steady improvement in timescales from 2015 but I think there is a long way to go before the majority of providers are matching customer expectations, in what is now a very connected world."
Smith-Thompson stressed the importance of the timescales - particularly bearing in mind "a similar amount of time is generally required to administer any transfer".
He added: "That means, for some schemes, a client can have everything sorted within a few weeks while, for others, it can mean four months or more of delays simply waiting on their provider. Understandably that can be both frustrating and potentially damaging to the client's plans."
Fastest DC schemes based on average number of weeks to provide information
|Guardian Financial Services||1.5 weeks|
|Now Pensions||1.7 weeks|
Slowest DC Schemes based on average number of weeks to provide information
|St James's Place||4.3 weeks|
|Towers Watson||3.7 weeks|
|Friends Provident||3.7 weeks|
|Reliance Mutual||3.3 weeks|
Fastest DB Schemes based on average number of weeks to provide information
|Royal Bank of Scotland||1.4 weeks|
|Diageo Pensions||1.8 weeks|
|DHL Group Retirement Plan||2.1 weeks|
|Social Housing Pension Scheme||2.3 weeks|
|Legal & General||2.3 weeks|
Slowest DB Schemes based on average number of weeks to provide information
|First UK Bus Pension||10.0 weeks|
|Durham County Council||9.2 weeks|
|Strathclyde Pension||8.8 weeks|
|Hampshire County Council||8.2 weeks|
|Mercer Ltd||8.0 weeks|
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