I’ve been researching Blockchain / Distributed Ledger technologies since October 2017.
Though they are known for Cryptocurrencies, they are also a new way to deliver Solutions that allow every transaction to be verified and recorded on a database that each participant holds their own version of.
Opinion still varies between the evangelists who believe it can have a similar impact on the world to that of the internet; to the naysayers who believe it’s just a fad that will disappear as quickly as it arrived.
There is a real sense of excitement at the moment as new and diverse use cases continue to appear, (from Identity Data to managing the provenance of anything from diamonds to pigs), as we wait to see which ones will stick and will have widespread take up in the future.
Whilst our Industry is still more observing rather than participating, waiting for an investable use case, it’s important that Criterion ensure that if/when that position changes we will be in the best position to help support the industry.
Having worked in Standards’ activities for almost 20 years, one of the achievements that I am most proud of is the development of Standard assertions and transformations, which are particularly relevant for asset valuation and account opening.
Assertions allow automatic checking of complicated business rules that cannot be tested simply; the reason why they are important is because they allow trading partners to interpret the business rules in a consistent, unambiguous way, thus reducing development time and costs.
Standards evolve over time, so not every organisation that has implemented a Standard will have implemented, for example, the latest version of that Standard. Transformations are used to translate between different versions of the same Standard, thus allowing organisations to considerably extend the number of potential trading partners they can exchange information with, leading to process improvements for all those involved.
As well as writing assertions and transformations, I very much enjoyed working with my colleagues to create a development environment that made the creation, the testing, and the quality assurance of these artefacts simpler.
I was pleased to have worked on the Pensions Dashboard Data Standards producing the messaging structures required for the Pensions Dashboard prototype application. This was an interesting project, particularly the design of the technical message control information needed to meet the business requirements.
The Pensions Dashboard Data Standards provide detailed information relating to the business content payload of XML messages to be exchanged between the parties involved. However, in addition to the business content, there was also a requirement for technical message control information to allow messaging frameworks to operate independently from the business payload, track who sent each message, know where response messages are to be sent, uniquely identify each message and track the relationship between messages.
This information can then be used to provide management information on the service as well as auditing and logging of messages being exchanged.
The technical message control information appears in all messages in a consistent format and supplies useful information above and beyond the scope of the business process being dealt with - in this case, pensions valuations.
I am the Website Administrator. I make sure customers have access to the Standards they need, and keep content up to date across all Criterion’s workstreams. I also played a small part in the creation of the Criterion website.
I began working with our Standards community in January 2000 and have seen it evolve and grow over the years, from a handful of companies to more than 400, and from EDI technology to APIs.
My role is constantly evolving, as the needs of our community continue to develop.
I manage the Criterion office, support the Criterion team and ensure that the wheels stay on the bus. My background in retail means that I have always been focussed on delivering for the customer. During my career I have provided pro-active, comprehensive and legally compliant administrative support for a number of organistaions in a variety of sectors – from gourmet food to distribution. I’m new to financial services and standards and governance but I’m really enjoying it and learning something new every day. When I’m not in work I have a busy family life, enjoy socialising with friends, going to the gym as often as possible, travelling and visiting the cinema.
Change is an inevitable part of any Industry and is something that amongst other things, can be imposed by government legislation, brought about by new or changing customer requirements or because of an opportunity to take further costs out of a business.
At Criterion we have vast experience of Change Management, which takes the best from our skill sets, including detailed understanding of the requirements, analysis of the impact of change across any of the artefacts that we manage, developing and implementing the right solutions and sharing these with our Industry. This is an area I’m proud to be involved in. Over the years the Criterion team has made ongoing improvements to our Change Management process that has given direct benefits to the Industry and are constantly looking for further opportunities to improve our processes.
I’m really proud to have been involved with the Criterion Common Declarations since they were first drafted more than a decade ago. They’re just a short collection of wording that gets embedded in pension transfer application forms; but they have enabled the re-engineering of transfer and retirement processes at industry scale. They help bring transfer times down from 50 days or more to fewer than ten – a much better outcome for the saver, and a big cost saving for the companies involved.
Ten years on, nearly 100 different pensions services rely on the Declarations, which have supported more than 2.2 million pension transfers, worth more than £110 billion. That shows the power of industry-wide collaboration that focuses on improving results for the consumer, and of a professional approach to governance that keeps the Declarations robust and fit for purpose – despite unprecedented, ongoing change in the pensions landscape.
One of my proudest moments has been working collaboratively with members of financial services companies to meet their goals and objectives. This is one of Criterion’s core strengths: the ability to work with the industry to achieve common goals.
The team at Criterion has significant experience in establishing and working with industry Working Groups and there is a great sense of satisfaction in being involved with these groups, to understand an issue in more detail and then design, build, deliver and support a solution. All this to help the end customer and reduce cost across the industry.
On behalf of the financial services industry Criterion establishes industry groups, ranging from strategic discussions to detailed technical approaches and solutions.
I am sure this collaborative approach will continue, extending into new markets, and I look forward to being a part of that growth.
The PS1712 legislation has been effective from the start of March 2018 and I enjoyed working on this project because of its imminence and relevance to the annuity market, a market I find more interesting as I get older! My role in the project was the provision of samples for the Annuity Comparator Standard, the setting up of the samples became a very iterative process as it generated lots of questions and discussion. A message that is a collation summary of quotations alongside statistical metadata, is a relatively complex message and I thought we worked well as a team evolving the schema design to address the issues that emerged with the creation of the samples.
In 2012 I had the privilege to act as Project Manager on the Automatic Enrolment (AE) Standards Development Project. This project delivered a suite of 11 Open AE Data Messaging Standards to support the various AE processes such as AE Postponement and Estimation, AE Assessment, AE Opt In/Opt Out/Joiners to name a few. The challenge with this project was not just in developing and delivering the AE Standards in time to support the broad band of medium and small employers staging AE for the first time post 2013, but in managing and co-ordinating input from the wide variety of Stakeholders involved such as Pension Product Providers, Flexible Benefit Providers, HR Payroll Solution Providers, Employee Benefit Consultants/Advisers, CRM Solution Providers, Government Regulatory Bodies and NEST. This was without doubt one of the biggest projects undertaken in recent years and I am proud to have worked on this project and to deliver AE Standards on behalf of the Industry.