What fantastic service clients would be receiving right now if the effectiveness of transfer processing in financial services was proportional to the number of industry entities engaged! Although STAR is the newcomer and presently attracting most of the buzz, there are many other players (as shown above). And this doesn't include any of the industry working groups and trade associations that are each examining different transfer challenges.
Service-level goals for transfers
Not all these parties cover the same ground. For example, some are only for Cash ISAs or pensions. While some are focused on the legalities of transferring, others are focused on offering automation systems or maintaining service levels. There is still a lot of overlap, however. 5 different groups are concurrently specifying service-level goals for transfers. (However, PASA deserves recognition for being the only organization courageous enough to take on DB transfers!)
In truth, adding more organizations doesn't always result in better outcomes. Getting existing organizations to collaborate more effectively is the actual challenge. In 2016, an industry working group (commonly known as TRIG) conducted an extensive industry consultation on transfers and produced a number of proposals. The recommendations that received the most support were those relating to common processing standards and interoperability between transfer systems. No surprise, since, in the end, if providers utilize incompatible transfer systems, the client will always have to put up with subpar service no matter how service levels are specified.
TeX open transfers framework
The TeX open transfers framework provides a solution to these problems. Of all transfer initiatives, the TeX framework has the greatest breadth, but more crucially, it leverages a completely different strategy. TeX divides the legal framework from the technological standards. Instead of delivering a monolithic one-size-fits-all service, it focuses on getting the legal framework right and leaves the competing technology providers to create compliant solutions. Everyone is free to choose the option that makes the most sense for them. This promotes fair and open competition among financial services providers
It's great that there are so many great organizations working to enhance the transfer process, but we must ensure that everyone is working toward the same goal; otherwise, we will continue to be held back by too many incompatible ideas that don’t benefit anyone.