LoA Standards

Increase consistency, reduce time, effort and costs.

Current LoA processes rely on a huge amount of manual effort by both advisers and providers to navigate a wide variety of approaches to request, authorisation and fulfilment. Accurate, up-to-date details of clients’ investments and policies are critical for robust, high-quality advice and response times and outcomes are inconsistent.

We collaborated with the industry to define a repeatable, standardised approach to processes that can be implemented using API, CSV and XML. This enables a reliable, easy-to-navigate experience that increases consistency; reduces time, effort and costs; and critically, supports better outcomes for customers.


LoA challenges

The Letter of Authority (LoA) process has been a source of frustration for advisers, who request the information, and for product providers who supply the information. When clients approach an adviser for advice, it is often with numerous existing policies in place, which they hope their new adviser can use to determine the most appropriate course of action for them to take, ensuring they make the best financial decisions for their future financial wellbeing. Knowing the full details of current provision ensures advisers are able to give good and specific advice on the suitability of clients’ active policies.

There are numerous challenges with the way LoA requests generally operate in the market today – primarily because of the inherently manual steps undertaken. Without an automated solution in place, the LoA process for advisers is laborious, time consuming, inconsistent, frustrating and costly. For product providers, the information required may be complex to gather, historical and spread across multiple systems. 

The key stages in the LoA process and challenges of each stage are shown below: 




How can Criterion help

So, where can Criterion Standards help?

Criterion’s LoA Standards support advisers onboarding new clients by providing an effective and automated method of gathering information about clients’ existing policies. 

The Standards support a single automated LoA Request being made by an adviser - potentially to each product provider the client is a customer of, and which is satisfied by one or more automated fulfilment responses, depending on how many policies the client currently has. Products supported by LoA Fulfilment are:

  • DC Pensions; 
  • Investments; and ,
  • Protection.

Today, LoA information typically arrives in one of a range of unstructured formats – letters, emails, PDFs, faxes – from which key information needs to be extracted manually by the advice team for use in analysing the client’s situation using advice tools like client management systems, portfolio or fund x-ray, cashflow modellers and needs calculators. That is costly and runs the risk of rekeying errors. 

Our LoA Standards can be used to deliver critical key information in a structured way, meaning that it can be consumed and processed directly by adviser software without the need for manual keying.

A solution managed by the industry for the industry

Our unique approach to collaboration, refined and proven across more than 30 years, delivers solutions that are specified, designed and approved by subject-matter experts from across the industry.

That expertise is baked into Criterion’s API Standards, giving organisations confidence that Standards-based integration will be straightforward to deploy and will fit the need for which it is designed.

We keep that collaborative approach going into the long term, working with those same experts to ensure that our API Standards keep pace with market innovation, consumer trends and the regulatory environment.

Why Standards for API?

API technologies have contributed to an explosion in data integration, making it easier and quicker to accelerate business processes by getting the right data to the right place at the right time; and technologies like JSON and OpenAPI have made development and deployment of APIs easier than ever.

But that doesn’t mean that duplication and waste have become any more desirable: it’s still quicker and more cost-efficient to build a service once and deploy it with many trading partners than it is to rebuild and refine it time after time to meet their differing needs.

That’s where Criterion Standards come in. By working with key market stakeholders, we define Standards for APIs so that the data they contain, and how that data is structured and exchanged, meets the needs of the market as a whole. The result is that a single API build can be deployed with many trading partners, cutting out wasteful redevelopment.

Get in touch

Our team is always keen to talk about our Standards and Governance work, whether you need support for detailed implementation planning, or just want to learn more about who we are and what we do. To find out more, contact:

Nick Green Solutions Director
[email protected] | 07990 586832

Stuart McColl Sales & Relationship Manager
[email protected] | 07879 519 708

LoA Standards

We have produced a suite of LoA API Standards


If you would like to know more about Criterion and our Standards, please get in touch. Email us today