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Platform giants join firms in pension switching call

Platform giants join firms in pension switching call

Platform giants Hargreaves Lansdown and Aegon are among 67 firms to join an initiative calling for greater standards in pension switching.

The partnership between Criterion and TeX, under the brand of Star, is working on a transfers & re-registration initiative which it hopes will shape "recognised, industry-wide standards to promote good practice in transfers". 

Fidelity and Standard Life have also petitioned their fund groups to support the campaign. 

Andrew Marker, chairman of the Star steering group and head of retail pension at Vanguard Asset Management Limited, said the initiative would improve customer outcomes and make participating companies more efficient. It could even become part of the due diligence process in the future.

Mr Marker said: "It is too early to build Star membership into fund due diligence processes, but the weight that platforms are putting behind this initiative signposts that they expect support for Star to become a future due diligence requirement.

"Star is a voluntary framework and has achieved rapid legitimacy and momentum, due to the significant organisations participating, representing a cross section of the financial services industry." 

The campaign officially launched in January last year and hopes to "galvanise" the industry by agreeing service levels between platforms, Isa managers, pension companies, asset managers and transfer agents.

Tim Orton, managing director of investment solutions at Aegon, said: "Aegon is pleased to support Star to demonstrate our commitment to customers and is calling on fund managers to sign-up to the initiative and support its industry-wide standards.

"Support from across the industry will help improve the quality of service and process efficiency for individuals who transfer assets across financial institutions."

Nathan Long, interim head of policy at Hargreaves Lansdown, said "kinks in the plumbing" behind the scenes of investment and pension transfers meant they could take too long to complete.

Mr Long added: "HL are by no means perfect but are committed to working with the industry to speed up transfer times, re-designing our approach to meet the high standards of practice identified by Star.

"Helping people’s money move smoothly between providers works if all of the industry pull together, which is why we’ve written to a group of asset managers encouraging them to sign up too."

rachel.mortimer@ft.com 

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