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Independent status for industry’s Standards and Governance body

14 October 2020

Criterion, the industry’s not-for-profit Standards and Governance services body, has moved from a subsidiary of Origo to become a fully independent organisation.

The Standards were established over 25 years ago and underpin the exchange of data between organisations in the financial services industry, making it easier for product providers, platforms, administrators, portals and advisers to work with each other.

The separation has meant the transfer of staff from Origo, the creation of a new website ( ) including the rebranded Criterion Standards and professional Governance services. The organisation continues to have its own Managing Director, Independent Chair, Board and corporate governance.

Following the separation Criterion will take forward and expand upon the existing Standards and Governance work, while Origo will focus efforts on operational services such as Origo Transfer Service, Unipass Identity, Mailock and Integration Hub services.

Billy Burnside, managing director of Criterion (pictured), says: “In response to industry demand, in 2017 the Origo Board decided that in order to position clearly the services provided by Origo and its provision of Standards to the industry, a separate company should be created. This would be, in the first instance, a subsidiary of Origo and Criterion was created; into which custody of the Standards business was placed.

“Full independence was always the intention and as part of that transition Criterion has established a strong and increasingly independent position as part of the financial services industry eco-system. We now have the final piece of the jigsaw in place, creating a fully independent body that can draw on a long history of delivering standards and governance – since 1989.

“We remain focussed on creating and developing the Standards and Governance needed by the industry to enable its day-to-day operations in an efficient and cost-effective manner for the benefit of all participants; including providers, platforms, advisers and their customers.

“Criterion is a not-for-profit industry utility and supports the UK’s long-term savings, investment, and protection markets. Criterion supports all providers, platforms, pensions schemes, third party administrators, industry bodies, regulators, and government to enable better collaboration and integration in pursuit of better consumer outcomes.”

Since 2019, the Criterion team has also been instrumental in driving forward STAR, the regulator backed industry initiative, committed to developing appropriate standards and best practice to help speed up the transfer times for pensions and investments and improving outcomes for individual savers and investors, in moving their money from one financial institution to another. This is being progressed in a joint venture with TeX, currently with over 65 companies now part of the venture.

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