The number of defined benefit transfers fell to a record low in September after the introduction of the contingent charging ban saw advisers leave the market.

Data from XPS Pensions found transfer activity in September was at an annual equivalent of 0.54 per cent of eligible members, down from 0.67 per cent in August.

This represents 54 in every 10,000 eligible members transferring each year.

This is a record low, with DB transfer activity falling below the level seen in April, in the immediate aftermath of the Covid-19 crisis and in the midst of nationwide lockdown restrictions.

Mark Barlow, partner at XPS Pensions said this could be the result of the contingent charging ban, which came into effect at the beginning of this month.

Contingent charging means a client only pays for the advice if they go ahead with a transfer.

The FCA said introducing the ban will remove the conflicts of interest which arise when an adviser only gets paid if a transfer goes ahead.

Only consumers with certain identifiable circumstances, such as those suffering from serious ill-health or experiencing serious financial hardship, will be exempt.

Mr Barlow said: “It appears that the record low in transfer activity may be due to the difficulties members face in finding a suitable adviser following the withdrawal of many firms from the market.

“Many advisers withdrew from the market in part due to the ban introduced on contingent charging.”

Meanwhile XPS Pensions found that despite transfers falling, the number of scam warnings has hit a new high.

Two thirds (62 per cent) of transfers in September showed at least one warning sign of a potential scam, up from just over half (51 per cent) in August.