The importance of accreditations
Savings, pension and investment firms have often faced criticism that transfer times are too long and complex when transferring from one organisation to another. As a result, transfers and re-registrations can take many weeks, often months, to complete causing customers and advisers to face lengthy delays. The STAR initiative was created to help firms reduce their transfer times, improve communication, and create transparency in the industry through its robust accreditation system.
Accreditations are formal recognition given to organisations that meet specific standards or requirements in a particular area. They demonstrate to customers, advisers and other stakeholders that an organisation meets certain standards of quality and professionalism, which helps to build trust and confidence in the organisation. When an institution is accredited, it has been independently reviewed and has a ‘stamp’ of approval from an impartial third party. STAR, which is a joint venture between Criterion and TeX, accredits based on the Accreditation Steering Groups decision. This robust governance means that participants are accurately awarded with bronze, silver and gold accreditations. This is based on their performance against transfer standards set and agreed by the industry.
The process of obtaining an accreditation often involves a thorough review of the MI collated and procedures. This is instrumental in helping organisations identify areas for improvement and ensure that firms are operating more efficiently, effectively, and are compliant. STAR accreditations take place on an annual basis, with members reporting quarterly to allow them to review their results and make adjustments accordingly throughout the year.
STAR accreditations are also a valuable marketing tool, providing firms with a way to differentiate themselves from their competitors. Advisers will recognise which providers are committed to achieving excellence and make recommendations to their customers regarding which providers are capable of handling transfers in a timely and efficient manner. It’s worthwhile noting that whilst not all participating firms have reached the required threshold for accreditation, they should be applauded for their involvement and efforts to improve their transfer process, regardless of whether they receive a bronze, silver or gold accreditation.
If you would like more information on STAR or the required MI reporting, please get in touch, and we can arrange a call with one of our STAR representatives.