Industry heavyweights back transfer framework initiative

A group of 10 of the largest investment, savings and pensions trade bodies have endorsed a new joint venture aimed at delivering a long-term governance solution to transfers.

The Transfers and Industry Re-registration Industry Group (TRIG) has backed a project by Criterion and TeX, named Star, which will deliver improvements to both consumers and firms looking to benefit from “consistent and improving standards”.

The venture, which has built a framework specifying three weeks for an occupational pension transfer, emerged after the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) highlighted the issue of transfers and re-registration across the asset management industry and investment platforms.

According to TRIG, it will aim to continue bringing down the transfer time.

Pensions Minister Guy Opperman, said: “For routine defined contribution transfers it makes sense, from both a competition and customer service point of view, that members are able to move their money swiftly.

“For many members moving money is straightforward but for some others it’s far from effective and I’d urge firms to commit to the TRIG framework, as this is an area the government is keeping a close eye on.”

Furthermore, TRIG said that consumers will also benefit from “better communication, common standards … and greater transparency on firms’ performance”. The group will publish a register of financial companies who have signed up to the initiative.

The Pensions Regulator chief executive, Lesley Titcomb, said: “It is important that savers seeking to move pension pots between providers can do so promptly and safely and so we welcome the Star initiative which raises the bar on the standards people can expect when transferring from a DC scheme.

“We hope administrators of pension schemes will quickly embrace the proposed new framework which will bring greater certainty and speed for transfers, giving savers improved control over their money.”

Titcomb added that it expects the framework to deliver lower administration costs through simpler experiences when dealing with other organisations.

TRIG chair Tom McPhail, said: “Firms want to do the right thing for their customers; when they have to transact with other firms to move customers’ money, they also want to know it can be done quickly and efficiently.

“The publication of a register of financial companies who have signed up to this initiative and of ongoing performance data, will bring transparency and scrutiny to companies’
performance, creating pressure on businesses which are lagging behind to up their game.”

Associations that have formed TRIG included the Association of British Insurers, Association of Member-Directed Pension Schemes, Pensions Administration Standards Association, Pensions and Lifetime Association and the Society of Pension Professionals.

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