The new data from the Office of National Statistics showed that this compared to just over £5bn in the previous quarter.
Numbers are likely to vary significantly from quarter-to-quarter as they include insurance buy-out deals as well as individual transfers away from schemes.
The data also showed that auto-enrolment contributions rose from c.£15bn in 2018 to over £20bn in 2019.
Regulatory action may lead to a short-term reduction in DB transfers for 2020.
The FCA recently announced a ban on contingent charging in relation to individual DB transfers.
The Coronavirus pandemic has also led the Pensions Regulator to issue guidance to DB trustees saying they will not take action if they don’t produce transfer values due to the uncertainty caused by the pandemic.
The pandemic has resulted in a 30% fall in request for pension transfer quotes at one provider - seen as an indicator of future transfer activity.
Tom Selby, senior analyst at AJ Bell, said that almost 60% of employer contributions to DB schemes were “sucked up” by “deficit reduction contributions” as the UK entered lockdown.
“The scale of individual DB transfer activity in recent years has been staggering, driven by a perfect storm of persistently low gilt yields, the greater flexibility in defined contribution schemes created by the 2015 pension freedoms and uncertainty about the future of many companies sponsoring such schemes.
“This uncertainty has only been added to in recent months as COVID-19 has forced large swathes of the UK economy into stasis. As gilt yields have been driven ever lower, liabilities and deficits have surged, with the latest Pension Protection Fund (PPF) figures showing aggregate deficits had reached £176 billion at the end of April.
“DB contributions designed to plug deficits (‘deficit reduction contributions’) sucked up 60% of all DB contributions in Q4 2019, highlighting the challenge many companies with yawning pension black holes faced as they entered this crisis.
“While the regulator has taken a pragmatic approach in relation to paying off deficits at a time when many companies are struggling to keep the lights on, the reality remains that, at some point, the pensions piper will need to be paid.”