STAR, the industry award scheme designed to combat delays in electronic transfer times, has published the 2024 accreditations. The initiative awarded 37 brands with accreditations – an increase of 16% from last year. 

Transfer delays are all too common in this sector, causing frustration amongst customers, cost and effort, and potential reputational damage for firms. The STAR initiative was created to recognise and award firms that are trying to improve transfer times – these are the firms that have signed up to STAR and are submitting Management Information (MI), fostering industry transparency, and demonstrating that they have taken steps to address process issues. 

STAR rewards good transfer performance with bronze, silver, and gold accreditations across four categories (ISA/GIA, Personal Pensions SIPP & SSAS, Occupational Pensions and Asset Managers). 

STAR was set up by two independent organisations that operate as not-for-profits, Criterion and TeX, and is one of the most extensive cross-industry collaborations in the financial services industry.

The initiative is particularly important when considering the Financial Conduct Authority’s (FCA) Consumer Duty rules, which laid out rules to avoid causing foreseeable harm to customers and supporting customers to pursue their financial objectives. Firms must demonstrate to the FCA that they are abiding by these rules, with the FCA enforcing that if firms are not part of the STAR initiative they will come under increased scrutiny. 

Julie Gawthorpe, Operations Director at Wealthtime, said: 

STAR is doing important work to drive good practice and transparency across the industry. The two accreditations we've gained are a great reflection of the significant investment in service we've already made across the group. They will spur us on to continue to focus on and invest in service, of which timely transfers are a key part.

Andrew Marker, STAR Chair, commented: 

I am proud of how far the STAR initiative has come in the years of accrediting firms. This year, it has seen a significant increase in organisations being accredited, which is reflective of the FCA’s Consumer Duty rules and organisations recognising that improving transfers is key to not only fulfilling these rules, but also driving their own success. We commend the firms that have taken proactive steps to participate in STAR. It signifies their willingness to be transparent, their dedication to improving transfer times and ultimately, enhance the customer experience.

There are 80 organisations participating in STAR in various states of readiness and this year, 37 brands were accredited. 

STAR accreditations are based on several factors. One area of good performance can’t outweigh the poor performance in another. It is a balanced approach, and awards are thoroughly checked before they are given to an organisation. STAR accreditations are measured on a range of key performance indicators (KPIs) not only on the overall transfer time, as there are also a lot of mitigating factors to consider when reviewing the overall performance of an organisation.

STAR concluded the best way to fairly judge an organisation was to set up a points-based metric system with an organisation being scored on several key areas such as:

  • The time taken to complete the key stages of the electronic transfer journey. 
  • How they communicate with their customers on that journey.

Full details of the accreditations are available on the STAR website.