Pension Freedom 

Hargreaves's McPhail to chair transfers group

Hargreaves's McPhail to chair transfers group

Tom McPhail has been appointed as the founding chair of a steering group tasked with improving pension transfers.

The steering group, which is called Star, will be tasked with creating and maintaining service level agreements (SLAs) to be adopted by the industry to effect smoother transfers for consumers across the pensions and investments industry.

Mr McPhail, who is also head of policy at Hargreaves Lansdown, has explained why he is committed to Star.

He said: "Government and regulators have set a clear challenge to the industry: fix this for the benefit of your customers or we'll impose regulations on you.

"Like many other companies, Hargreaves Lansdown is working hard to improve our processes and to go the extra mile for our customers. But the problem only really gets fixed if everyone works together to a set of common standards.

"We've signed up to this initiative because we know that in the end, the cost of doing this will be more than off-set by the savings we'll make from faster, simpler administration and because we can't expect others to sign up if we are not prepared to put our money where our mouth is."

The announcement was made at a seminar attended by over 90 industry representatives gathered to hear more about Star and how they could become involved in the initiative to address inconsistencies in transfer times for pensions and investments.

So far, 14 organisations have committed in principle to supporting Star, which is looking to have 30 founding members signed up by the end of March 2019.

Commenting on the appointment Neil Liversidge, managing director of West Yorkshire-based West Riding Personal Financial Solutions, said: "Tom is a very capable individual and I'm sure he'll do a good job."

Julie Lord, chief executive and chartered financial planner for Bridgend-based Magenta Financial Planning, said: "Tom is a good guy and frankly anything that he can do to simplify the pension transfer process will be great for clients and advisers alike. 

"Because he works for a large well-respected firm, it is more likely that people will take notice."

Scott Gallagher, an adviser with Leicester-based Rowley Turton, said: "The time taken to transfer from one provider to another has been a concern, and a frustration, for advisers, and their clients, for some time.

"Having someone of Tom McPhail's stature as the founding chair of the new steering group should give advisers confidence that providers will work together to bring down transfer times for the benefit of clients, providers and advisers."

aamina.zafar@ft.com