Criterion, the not-for-profit Standards and Governance services body, has taken on the stewardship of API Standards designs for Equity Release Quotes / KFIs, initially created by Iress.
Criterion delivers standards for process and data integration, that supports the UK Financial Services industry in working together to serve customers better. The organisations AIR, Canada Life, IRESS, Just, L&G, LV, Key Advice, More2Life and Scottish Widows are participating in the important piece of industry work, with more companies expected to become involved. Criterion recently joined the Equity Release Council.
Criterion will work with key stakeholders in the Equity Release market, to manage Standards for APIs that meet the needs of the market as a whole. This means that a single API build can be deployed with many trading partners, cutting out wasteful redevelopment. API technologies have contributed to an explosion in data integration, making it easier and quicker to get the right data to the right place at the right time, to support the right business process. Technologies like JSON and OpenAPI have made development and deployment of APIs easier than ever. It is nevertheless quicker and more cost efficient to build a service once and deploy it with many trading partners, rather than to rebuild it or refine it time after time to meet their differing needs.
Iress is a technology company providing software to the financial services industry, whose software is used by more than 9,000 businesses and 500,000 users globally. Edinburgh-based Criterion was established in June 2017 to deliver Standards and Governance services, as a high quality, independent industry utility. The Standards were established over 25 years ago and underpin the exchange of data between organisations in the financial services industry; making it easier for product providers, platforms, administrators, portals and advisers to work with each other.
Dave Miller, Iress, Executive General manager, commenting said:
Having created the Equity Release standards, Iress is delighted that Criterion will act as custodians from now on. Criterion will publish these designs as industry Standards for wider adoption by organisations in the Equity Release market. Criterion is a not-for-profit organisation, which will give the industry confidence that their focus is on doing what will drive the greatest benefit to their stakeholders.
Billy Burnside, Managing Director of Criterion, says:
We can draw on a long history of delivering standards and governance – since 1989, so are well positioned to help Equity Release participants. Criterion is uniquely positioned through its independence and levels of experience, to support and manage the overall collective interests of a group of industry organisations, who recognise the value from third-party governance on cross-industry initiatives. We have been testing the proposition with key supporters and further develop our understanding of current market integration activity. Following the successful Criterion adoption of Iress Quote / KFI designs as an industry Standard, including the publication to our website, we are now in a position to engage with additional market participants to secure involvement. We have a proven track record in supporting ongoing Standards evolution to reflect market dynamics and regulatory change and are well versed in stewardship of standards, change management and governance – all essential in ensuring sustainability. That’s why all of our Standards are managed through collaboration with market participants and other stakeholders. Our governance process brings together communities that rely on the Standards to identify emerging change and development needs; establish what they mean for API integration; agree timelines for delivery; and achieve buy-in for adoption.
Since 2019, the Criterion team has also been instrumental in driving forward STAR, the regulator backed industry initiative, committed to developing appropriate standards and best practice to help speed up the transfer times for pensions and investments and improving outcomes for individual savers and investors, in moving their money from one financial institution to another. This is being progressed in a joint venture with TeX, with over 70 companies now part of the venture.
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