Eight leading investment and pension bodies have teamed up to propose improvements to pension and investment transfers.
Following a review process, the bodies have published a consultation paper and are seeking input from all stakeholders by 31 January 2017. The work has been undertaken by the industry in consultation with the Financial Conduct Authority, the Department of Work and Pensions and the Pensions Regulator.
The proposals focus on both transfers and re-registrations of retail financial products covering a broad range of tax wrappers as well as the asset types held within them.
"Enabling consumers to shop around and move between providers is fundamental to any competitive market," said chair of the group and outgoing head of business development at Fidelity International Ed Dymott (pictured). "For pensions and investments, this means customers need to be able to consolidate or move their assets between different providers efficiently and with clarity at all stages.
"This review recognises that this is a highly complex area, with a broad range of different products and participants involved in the transfer process. There is some good market practice already in existence that can be built on - however we also recognise there are parts of the market where improvements can be made. We believe the five proposals under consultation can provide the framework for improving client outcomes for transfers."
The consultation paper, published today, has put forward five main proposals to improve the transfers and re-registration process:
1. The creation of clear service expectations for transfers and re-registrations, including a 48 hour standard for completing each step in the process.
2. The collection of high-level management information and a common reporting methodology for all transfers and re-registration instructions.
3. The creation of a forum to identify, prioritise and implement solutions that resolve unnecessary barriers to transfer and re-registration processes.
4. The development of common industry standards and good-practice guidelines for the retail investment and pensions industry.
5. The establishment of an independent governance and oversight body to oversee the implementation of the final proposals.
Association of British Insurers (ABI) director of policy, long-term savings and protection, Yvonne Braun said: "This initiative aims to speed up the transfer and re-registration process and is a positive example of the industry collaborating to make things better for consumers. We're pleased to be co-ordinating this work and are now consulting with the wider industry and all interested stakeholders to ensure our proposed next steps are practical."
The representative bodies include: the ABI, the Association of Professional Financial Advisers, the Investment Association, the Tax Incentivised Savings Association (TISA), the British Bankers' Association, The UK Platform Group, The Wealth Management Association and the Association of Member Directed Pension Schemes.
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