STAR, the cross-industry initiative to improve industry standards around pension, savings and investment transfers, has gathered the support of 78 firms two years on from its launch, and plans to start accrediting organisations in 2022.
The initiative, which officially launched in January 2019, said the group has been successful in pushing ahead with its mission to reduce transfer times despite the Covid-19 pandemic, with the introduction of Core Management Information (MI) to measure transfer performance.
Core MI for the occupational pensions and personal pensions, SIPP and SSAS MI submissions will initially focus its requirements on the reporting of electronic transfers. The reporting and re-registrations and manual transfers will be included when there is sufficient data available to report on them.
For ISA and General Investment Accounts, the focus will be upon reporting of the overall end-to-end journey data and the ceding party journey. Monthly MI submissions will be uploaded to the STAR website by authorised users.
The not-for-profit organisation said the development marked a “key milestone”, enabling it to become the single, authoritative source of transfer data on how firms are performing. STAR accreditations of gold, silver and bronze will be awarded depending on performance.
STAR is also working towards full MI reporting, which will provide an indication of how firms are performing within specific processes that they are responsible for within the transfer/ re-registration journey.
Regular implementations meetings are being held to help the industry collaborate on delivering the STAR objectives, while an accreditation roadmap has been agreed with a view to accrediting organisations in the first quarter of 2022 for their 2021 data.
Andrew , chair of STAR steering group, said: “We continue to make strong progress despite the challenges of dealing with Covid-19. I am delighted that the initiative has reached a significant milestone for us, which is central to our objectives. The last year has been an intense period of work with the industry galvanised to drive forward this solution. Not only will this initiative improve outcomes for customers, but for participating organisations, it will drive efficiencies and save money in the process.”
Marker added: “The accreditation roadmap is synchronised with the timings of the FCA who have said they would review progress in 2022 and take further regulatory action if necessary. We are delighted that the FCA encourage firms in the retail investment and pension sectors not already involved in STAR to take part. It is aligned with shared desired outcomes to improve the customer experience, reduce how long it takes to complete transfers and ensure consumers can move to a provider that better meets their needs more easily.”
Sheldon Mills, executive director for consumers and competition at the FCA, commented: “The FCA’s Investment Platforms Market Study highlighted that improving transfer times is critical in improving consumers’ ability to shop around and switch to a platform that better meets their needs. The FCA is supportive of the progress STAR has made to date and the production of Core MI is an important interim step towards achieving its objectives, which aim to bring down transfer times. Full MI reporting, as proposed, seeks to provide equal accountability for firms across the transfer process, as originally envisaged by TRIG.
“Reducing transfer times remains a priority for the FCA and full MI will play an important role in ensuring this. Therefore, we are strongly supportive of STAR continuing to pursue the full MI and its publication. We have committed to a review of progress against our desired outcomes in relation to transfers in 2022, and we will actively be following STAR’s progress towards its objectives over the next 12 months.”