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Cheers to 10 years of TeX

It is 10 years since TISA Exchange (TeX) was first established to provide the foundations for quick and efficient transfers. Over that time, it has underpinned the transfer of millions of pensions, ISAs and assets, worth billions of pounds for hundreds of platforms, wealth managers and pension providers. Considering the scope of its success it receives remarkably little press coverage‒so now seems like a good time to mark its achievements.

TeX benefits

TeX was launched in response to RDR requirements to allow investors to transfer assets in-specie (in other words, without selling and rebuying) between platforms. Over the years it has been extended to cover more types of pension and ISA transfers, a vast range of domestic and international assets, and a raft of new regulations including the FCAs Making Transfers Simpler and various new pension transfer rules from DWP, FCA and tPR. Further extensions are in the pipeline including, most notably, DB pensions.

It is hard to see how the industry could have coped with the magnitude of regulatory change or the sheer volume of transfers over the last decade without the TeX framework. And ultimately it has benefited millions of investors who have been able to quickly and easily switch between providers for better deals or a better service, just as the FCA intended.

How TeX works

TeX doesn’t sell technology or run any central infrastructure. Instead, it provides a framework of legal, operational and technical standards to which members must comply and leaves technology to market competition. It is not-for-profit, highly collaborative and equitable: every member gets one vote and everybody can attend the various committees.

A model for solving pension industry challenges

To my mind, it represents the ideal model for solving other similar industry challenges. Many of the initiatives loosely coming under the banner ‘Open Finance’, for instance, might well benefit from the same open and collaborative foundation. Perhaps it could even have been a good alternative model for the pensions dashboard: although this particular project does seem to be progressing, with testing now well underway.

TeX doesn’t do marketing‒it’s not trying to sell anything!‒and its success story often seems to get drowned out by the marketing noise of more commercial enterprises. But, given its success and the admirable approach it has taken, we should take a moment to recognise the great work by everyone, past and present, who have helped make TeX tick, perhaps especially the efforts of the late, great Malcolm Small without whom it may never have got off the ground.

So please raise your glasses (of your favourite non-alcoholic dry tipple) to the quiet success of TeX. Cheers.

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