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STAR Steering Group commits to ‘galvanise the industry’ on pensions and investments transfers

17 June 2019

STAR, the industry initiative to improve outcomes for individuals wanting to transfer their assets, such as pensions and investments, held its inaugural Steering Group meeting, including 30 funding members and the FCA, and said it is determined to galvanise the industry into signing to the initiative, ahead of the next FCA platforms paper which is due for publication later this year.

The STAR initiative officially launched in November 2018 and to date has 32 companies and organisations committed to shaping recognised, industry-wide standards to promote good practice in transfers.

The STAR remit is to:
*   Define the processes required to complete a transfer
*   Specify good practice targets for each of those processes
*   Measure, recognise and accredit performance excellence across the industry.

The meeting, which was Chaired by Tom McPhail of Hargreaves Lansdown, covered the Terms Of reference for the Steering Group and brought the group up to date with the progress made; regulatory support; four step programme of work; delivery framework and next steps.

The group appointed Ravi Grewal, Manager, Operations, Interactive Investor, as Deputy Chair.

Tom McPhail of Hargreaves Lansdown (pictured), who chaired the meeting, said: “There is no silver bullet to solve the issue of the fact that industry systems and processes are not consistent and that transfer times vary between providers. That said, the fact that the STAR initiative has held its first Steering Group, with such widespread industry representation and regulatory support from the FCA, shows that the industry is willing to get this over the line.

“This forum is a key stage in collaboration that will galvanise the industry to forge ahead with change and to improve things for consumers. We now have 32 organisations pledged to support STAR and this is a great foundation on which to build.

“In its March paper (Platforms Market Study – Final Report (MS17/1.3) ) the FCA encouraged industry members not already involved in the STAR initiative “to consider taking part as a way of improving the switching process and achieving better outcomes for consumers”.

“Through STAR, the industry has the opportunity to demonstrate its commitment to improving consumer outcomes, in advance of the Regulator’s further paper based on the consultation, which is due later this year.”

STAR founding members: Aegon, AJ Bell, Aviva, B&CE, Barclays, Barnett Waddingham, BNY Mellon Pershing, DST Funds, Equiniti, Fidelity, FNZ, Fusion Wealth, Genpact, Hargreaves Lansdown, Hodge Lifetime, Interactive Investor, Invesco, Janus Henderson, Legal & General, LV=, Old Mutual Wealth, Parmenion, Phoenix Group, Prudential, ReAssure, Royal London, Scottish Widows, Smart Pension, Standard Life Aberdeen, Transact, Wealthtime and Zurich.