NEST joins Star Initiative as Opperman urges other to follow suit

Holly Roach reports...

NEST has signed up to the government-backed Star Initiative, taking all of its 8 million members’ pension pots with it.

The initiative aims to improve industry standards while reducing pension transfer times for defined contribution schemes to less than 21 days. Along with the government-backed auto enrolment (AE) provider, it will work to influence how appropriate standards are defined.

Pensions and financial inclusion minister Guy Opperman has warned the industry to “act urgently” to join NEST in the Star Initiative or “face being named and shamed”.

“I’m glad NEST has signed up to the 21-day transfer pledge. NEST looks after the pensions of millions of people brought into retirement saving by AE, so clearly it is important they send a message to the rest of the industry,” he said.

NEST will be represented at the first meeting alongside 30 other organisations, and will share ideas on developing and defining industry good practice.

NEST director of customer engagement Mark Rowlands said: “While we’ll continue to offer quick transfers, we also want savers to have clear and easy to understand information to help them make informed decisions about their pension scheme – from transfer charges to how the scheme operates, from future investment prospects to past fund performance.

“Reducing transfer times is an industry-wide challenge and one we’re eager to be involved in.”

Star steering committee chairman Tom McPhail, who is also Hargreaves Lansdown head of retirement policy, added: “The more organisations that become involved, the firmer our foundations are and the more momentum we have. We are pleased with the wide-ranging and extensive industry support we have received and continue to receive.”