Sovereign Pension Services (UK) Limited has joined the UK government-backed STAR initiative, which aims to improve industry standards while reducing pension transfer times for defined contribution schemes.
Launched in October 2018, STAR was created to implement a cross-industry framework of good practice for improving consumer experience in moving their money from one financial institution to another. It is working to deliver the Transfers and Re-registration Industry Group (TRIG) targets – a 14-day maximum limit for cash transactions and 15 days for occupational scheme transfers.
Sovereign Pension Services (UK) Ltd conducts Sovereign’s UK SIPP and SSAS administration business, which forms part of Sovereign’s international pensions offering. Sovereign provides a range of pensions products from Gibraltar, Malta, Isle of Man, Guernsey and the UK to a client base of UK expats and residents, and has first-hand experience of working with both UK and international pension transfers.
Recent UK pension reforms have seen significant increases in long-term savings and investment transfers and re-registrations. Currently, industry systems and processes are not consistent – the timeframes involved in making transfers vary greatly between providers. This is less than ideal for consumers and time-consuming for providers, increasing their administrative costs.
STAR is a partnership between two not-for-profit bodies: Criterion, which delivers professional standards and governance services for the UK’s financial services industry and its customers; and TISA Exchange Ltd (TeX), which helps facilitate the electronic transfer of wrappers and assets between fund managers, platforms, wealth managers and any firm that holds assets on behalf of investors. TeX members administer over 97% of platform assets and over 95% of industry funds under management.
The STAR framework pledges to deliver a cross-industry framework of good practice and improve the consumer experience. Participating firms will benefit from greater certainty when dealing with other providers, leading to fewer queries and reduced administration costs. In addition, consumers will benefit from knowing their provider is part of the STAR scheme, and they can expect better communication, universal standards, continuous improvement and improved transparency.
Commenting on joining the STAR initiative, Sovereign Pension Services (UK) managing director Richard Chandler said: “We are delighted to work alongside other key pension providers and support the industry to improve industry administration process and protect our members’ interests. Sovereign is committed to being an active participant’s in STAR’s working parties, defining the processes to be covered by the framework, specifying good practice targets from the processes and measuring performance against targets across the industry. Member outcomes remain at the heart of everything we do.”
Regulated by the UK Financial Conduct Authority, Sovereign Pension Services (UK) is already a member of the Pensions Scams Industry Group (PSIG) and the Association of Member Directed Pension Schemes (AMPS). It is also a subscriber to the ORIGO pension transfer system.
With its global office network, reputation for excellence in the administration of trust and company structures, and record of innovation and technical expertise, Sovereign Group has developed into a market leader in the transfer and provision of pension schemes.
Sovereign’s proposition encompasses both personal and occupational schemes, and includes Qualifying Recognised Overseas Pension Schemes (QROPS), Qualifying Non-UK Pension Schemes (QNUPS), International Retirement Plans (IRPs), Corporate Pension Schemes, Self-Invested Personal Pensions (SIPPs) and Small Self-Administered Schemes (SSAS).
For more information, please contact Richard Chandler by telephone to +44 (0)151 328 1777 or by email.