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STAR poised for accreditation

Press Release

STAR initiative poised for industry transfers accreditation and invites further industry participation

16 September 2021

The STAR initiative, backed by the regulators and the government, is the only cross industry solution bringing together platforms, providers, life companies, service providers and transfer agents/ asset managers.

STAR is now poised for industry transfers accreditation and invites further industry participation. The initiative has galvanised the industry to create long-term solutions to improve the customer experience of transferring pensions, savings and investments between companies, by setting and measuring against a good practice framework.

STAR accreditation is designed to measure, recognise and accredit transfer performance across the industry. There are three STAR accreditation levels, which are based on performance. Bronze, silver and gold are designed to both reward good performance and encourage improved performance. The accreditation thresholds will be set through industry collaboration by the STAR Accreditation Steering Group and monitored by the STAR Steering Group.

An Accreditation Roadmap has been agreed, seeking to accredit organisations in Q1 2022 (for their 2021 data). The annual accreditation scheme will start in January 2022 based on agreed MI consisting of at least 3 consecutive month’s submission of 2021 data.

Over 70 firms have signed up to STAR, which officially launched in January 2019 and its membership is committed to shaping recognised, industry-wide standards to promote good practice in transfers. STAR collects and publishes the performance of companies when executing transfers, which will provide regulators, customers, and their financial advisers with clear evidence of a commitment to improve their performance.  This creates a competitive advantage for organisations involved in STAR, who are leading and driving industry change when it comes to switching.

The objective of MI Reporting is to allow for the accreditation of STAR members to reflect their performance within the transfer journey. Each service level (SLA) product group has been given detailed and individual consideration by the STAR Implementation Group. The STAR SLA Groups are:

  • ISA & GIA
  • Personal Pensions, SIPP and SSAS
  • Occupational / DC Pensions
  • Asset Managers / Transfer Agents


The Investment Association’s Transfer Week was held from 6 September to Friday, 10 September in a virtual format. Through a series of short videos with key participants, it provided an overview of current industry discussions, challenges and solutions, to enable members to conduct a self-assessment of their own progress.

"I am delighted that after an intense period of work with the industry galvanised to drive forward this solution, we have reached the significant milestone where organisations can submit their management Information (MI) and seek accreditation. Participating organisations can submit their data from early September. It is not too late for organisations to become involved and they should contact us in the first instance if they want to be part of this first wave of accreditation. In a nutshell, the train is leaving the station, but it’s not too late to get on board. The STAR initiative is set to become the single, authoritative source of transfer data on how firms are performing - the output of which will be a quarterly industry index and an annual accreditation scheme for participants."

Andrew Marker, Head of Retail Pensions, Vanguard and STAR Steering Group Chair

The FCA, The Pensions Regulator and the Department of Work and Pensions (and ABI, IA) continue to support STAR’s aims and objectives and participate as observers at the STAR Steering Group. The STAR initiative improves outcomes for customers, and for participating organisations, it will also drive efficiencies and save money in the process. The accreditation roadmap is very aware of the timings of the FCA who have said they will review progress in 2022 and take further regulatory action if necessary. The FCA encourages 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.

Benefits of STAR Accreditation:

  • enables firms to demonstrate to regulators their commitment to good practice and to the continued development of industry standards;
  • supports FCA / Government thinking;
  • recognition for delivering good practice;
  • the ongoing collection and publication of performance in executing transfers, as well as a list of the firms which have chosen to participate, will provide regulators and customers with clear evidence of how firms are behaving;
  • as well as having happier clients, participating firms will also benefit from greater certainty in dealing with counterparties, leading to fewer queries and lower administration costs;
  • better communication, universal standards, continuous improvement, and improved transparency;
  • STAR has an ‘oversight’ function and works to ensure that those organisations’ it accredits meets industry agreed standards that are FCA, DWP and TPR endorsed.
  • Holding STAR Accreditation is an indication of industry agreed standards and competency using specific agreed criteria around processes.

Notes

For further information please contact:

Matthew Dransfield
Commercial and Marketing Director
Criterion
0773 765 0010
media@criterion.org.uk

About STAR

STAR was created as a collaboration between Criterion and TeX, combining the industry-reach, unique strengths, experience and shared ambition of the two not-for-profit organisations.

Criterion was formed for the industry in July 2017, as an independent, not-for-profit industry body providing Standards and Governance services. It was originally part of Origo Services Ltd and has been publishing process and integration standards for over 25 years. Criterion is uniquely positioned to facilitate and drive cross-industry engagement, helping organisations achieve higher levels of collaboration, reduce costs and achieve better outcomes for their consumers.

TeX is a not-for-profit organisation which works with the industry to ensure that the maximum benefit is provided to all members. This new company is financially independent from TISA but benefits from being linked to the TISA brand through name, the expertise provided by the two corporate entity directorships and the administrative support provided by TISA.

© 2021 CT Holdings and Services Limited (CTHS), a joint venture between TISA Exchange Limited and Criterion Tec Limited.

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