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STAR transfers initiative charts ‘significant progress’

23 March 2020

The cross-industry STAR initiative, designed to improve the outcomes for individuals wishing to transfer investments and pensions, has moved into the implementation phase following a year of “significant progress.”

The initiative, which officially launched in January 2019, now has 55 participants as it pushes ahead with its drive to improve industry standards and reduce pension transfer times for defined contribution schemes to less than 21 days. It also measures and accredits performance excellence across the industry.

Since its launch, STAR has completed its General investment Account and ISA work stream and Individual Pensions & SIPP work stream process workshops, with proposed service level agreements (SLA) and management information (MI) principle requirements have been agreed. These have been approved by the STAR steering group, headed up by Hargreaves Lansdown’s Tom McPhail. The Occupational Pensions and Asset Manager workstreams are also nearing completion, the group added.

The latest implementation phase will focus on establishing what Transfer Process MI is available to report now; how much of the proposed reportable MI could be delivered with “quick win” processing or system changes as well as establish an approach and timeline to deliver the full MI.

Through the course of this year and next, STAR will start to collect and publish the performance of companies when executing transfers. It will provide a quarterly industry index and an annual accreditation scheme of bronze, silver and gold to reward strong performance.

Tom McPhail, founding chair, STAR steering group (pictured), said: “STAR is a voluntary framework and has achieved rapid legitimacy and momentum, due to the significant organisations participating representing a cross section of the financial services industry. We have made significant progress. The last year has been an intense period of work and the intellect of the industry has put their heads together to drive forward this truly cross-industry solution

“Accreditation is just around the corner and as an industry, we have made significant progress. Not only will this initiative improve things for customers, but for participating organisations it will make them more efficient and save money in the process.”

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