The ViaNova Working Group and The Investing and Saving Alliance (Tisa) Exchange (TEX) have completed a ‘first of its kind’ live pension transfer within the defined contribution (DC) occupational space, with WTW.
The initial request took 30 minutes, while the whole process for the ceding scheme took around six working days, which was described as a “significant saving” compared to the usual six-eight week transfer time.
The early adopters of the approach include the WTW Lifesight Master Trust and two large occupational DC schemes managed by Hargreaves Lansdown and Fidelity.
However, it is hoped that the approach will now be “readily adopted” in other areas, including defined benefit (DB) transfers.
The ViaNova initiative brings together schemes regulated by both the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and The Pensions Regulator (TPR), using open standard solutions with a common legal framework to streamline DC transfer processing.
TEX is responsible for the legal framework, managing and running the complete set of non-commercial contracts between parties that cover standards, service level agreements and matters of liability concerning all aspects of transfers.
The ViaNova group, meanwhile, will continue to look at ways in supporting the industry, including the use of DB transfers.
ViaNova Working Group co-chair and WTW systems development director, Andy Hussey, highlighted the completion of the first transaction as a “major milestone”, emphasising the benefits of working with all parties within the industry.
“Through the use of open standards, we can ensure that pension regulated schemes and the master trusts will be supported in the future as and when transfer regulations are introduced,” he continued.
“Our role in the industry is now to increase the number of adopters and build on the success of this new electronic transfer process.”
Echoing this, TEX chair, David Moffat, stated: “This is a major achievement for the industry and highlights the successful collaboration between product providers and third party administrators in the UK corporate pension industry with the TEX.”
Lifesight managing director, Fiona Matthews, recommended that all regulated DC pension schemes and master trusts sign up to the initiative to allow it to become “the much needed industry standard”.
“LifeSight is a strong advocate for enhancing members engagement and experience with their DC pension providers,” she continued.
“Achieving faster transfer processing for those wishing to consolidate their pensions is a significant milestone, and a welcome improvement in the industry.
“We would like to see each TPR-regulated DC pension scheme and master trust to sign up and enable this valuable improvement to become the much needed industry standard.”