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Opperman praises third party administrator for joining pensions transfers initiative

11 July 2019

Guy Opperman, minister for Pensions and Financial Inclusion has praised XPS Pensions Group for joining STAR, the industry initiative to improve industry standards for pension transfers.

Opperman said: “It’s great to see XPS embracing STAR in the interests of customers and throwing down the gauntlet to other administrators. I urge other firms to follow XPS’s lead. I haven’t heard any good reason why firms with today’s technology can’t make progress towards 21-day routine DC to DC transfers from start to finish.”

STAR was created to shape industry-wide standards and promote best practice in pension transfers to ensure a smoother transfer process. STAR will deliver a cross-industry framework of good practice that will improve the consumer experience and reduce the time taken to pay pension transfers.

XPS flagged the importance of improving the pension transfer process for members, particularly for defined contribution (DC) to DC transfers, however it needs to be done whilst protecting members’ interests by combating pension scams.

The group said it was already embracing the use of technology in its DC business using the Altus platform to action straight through processing for communicating with investment managers and the Origo Transfer Service across its SIPP business and multi-employer master trust, the National Pension Trust. “The Origo platform helps standardise and reduce the amount of paperwork where both parties use the system.”

David Watkins, managing director, XPS Administration said: “XPS Pensions Group is committed to improving member outcomes and we believe that the STAR initiative shares our values and is determined to help us raise the standard of support around transfer activity.

“Whilst efficiency is important in making the end to end pension transfer process as quick as possible, the industry is also tackling the issue of increasingly sophisticated pension scams and doing its best to combat them.

“In the light of these challenges it is important for us to be on the inside of this initiative and to be able to work alongside other providers and STAR, to improve administration process and protect our members’ interests.”

Tom McPhail, Founding chair of STAR, added: “This is a special moment for STAR, as XPS is the first major Third Party Administrator to sign up to the STAR transfers framework. We’re in active dialogue with others and hope to make further announcements soon.

“We’ve now got insurers, platforms, fund managers, mastertrusts, technology providers and major TPAs all working to a common framework for the benefit of consumers and set to enjoy operating cost savings from the greater efficiencies it brings.

“I’d encourage any firm either directly or indirectly involved in transfers, to look at joining STAR.”