Allfunds is the latest and 75th organisation to have committed to the initiative, joining a broad range of organisations helping to shape recognised, industry-wide standards to promote good practice in transfers. Allfunds is one of the world's leading wealthtech companies with a service offering which includes data & analytics, portfolio & reporting tools, research and regulatory services. Created in 2000, Allfunds offers the largest fund distribution network globally and access to the world's largest universe of mutual fund and ETFs.
The STAR initiative is the collaboration between industry bodies Criterion and TeX, aimed at improving the speed of transfer across the investment, pensions and savings markets. STAR is supported by the FCA, The Pensions Regulator and the Department of Work and Pensions, and is the only cross-industry solution to improve transfer times. It brings together platforms, pension providers, asset managers and service providers, to put in place service level agreements to ensure quick, efficient and predictable transfers and re-registration for customers.
Andrew Marker, Chair of the STAR Steering Group and Head of Retail Pension, Vanguard Asset Management Limited said:
We are delighted that Allfunds has shown their support for STAR which continues to grow. 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 transfer targets, measuring each firm’s performance against a good practice framework, accrediting firms and publishing results.
STAR aims to become the single, authoritative source of transfer data on how firms are performing. It will publish a quarterly industry index to help industry participants benchmark their own performance and provide transparency for consumers. This will work hand-in-hand with an annual accreditation scheme of bronze, silver and gold, so that performance can be evidenced, rewarded and improvements encouraged.
The Implementation Phase of the Initiative started in March 2020, to allow the members to agree an approach to deliver STAR Reporting and an opportunity to discuss change requests and common challenges they may face.
With a broad cross-section of the financial services industry signed up to STAR, momentum is growing, and it will be increasingly beneficial for companies to join the initiative, both on operational and competitive grounds. It will also give investors and customers confidence in the transfer process.
Simon Shapland, Country Head UK & Ireland, Allfunds commenting on their support said:
STAR is a win-win opportunity for organisations, not only improving operations for the benefit of customers but increasing their efficiencies and saving money in the process. We look forward to making an active contribution to this important industry initiative.
The FCA, The Pensions Regulator and the Department of Work and Pensions (and ABI, IA) continue to support STAR’s aims and are observers at the Steering Group. The FCA has publicly stated that they will carry out a review of progress in 2022 and will consider taking forward further action if consumers’ experience of the switching process does not continue to improve. In 2022, the FCA expect to be able to see the impact of the implementation
During September, four of the leading platforms – Aegon, Fidelity, Hargreaves Lansdown and Standard Life – contacted their fund groups requesting they support the STAR Transfers & Re-Registration initiative.
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