Nest joins Star; Opperman urges others to join or face consequences

The National Employment Savings Trust Scheme (Nest) has joined Star, the government-backed initiative aimed at reducing DC pension transfer times, bringing 8 million pension pots with it.

Pensions Minister, Guy Opperman, described the announcement as “great news and overdue”, while warning schemes that do not “act urgently to join them” face “being ‘named and shamed’”.

He continued: “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 automatic enrolment, so clearly it is important they send a message to the rest of the industry.”

The Star Initiative aims to improve standards within the pensions industry getting schemes to commit to reducing most transfers for DC schemes to less than 21 days.

Furthermore, it promotes regular reporting of average transfer times, aiming to develop industry best practice and provide consumers with a better experience.

Nest director of customer engagement, Mark Rowlands, commented: "We’re pleased to join the Star Initiative and share our experience to help other organisations reduce their transfer times.

“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.

“We are looking forward to working together with colleagues across the industry to influence how good-practice is defined. Reducing transfer times is an industry-wide challenge and one we’re eager to be involved in.”

The announcement comes a week before the Association of British Insurers hosts the first pensions working group on 22 August, where there will be over 30 organisation discussing industry best practice to reduce transfer times.

Star Steering Committee chair and Hargreaves Lansdown head of retirement policy, Tom McPhail, added: “We are delighted that Nest Corporation is supporting the Star Initiative, bringing with them such a high volume of consumers’ pensions.

“Frankly the more organisations that become involved, the firmer our foundations are and the more momentum we have.

“We have begun to collaborate at our steering and working Groups which will help galvanise the industry to forge ahead with change and to improve things for consumers.”

More than 90 per cent of Nest’s transfers use the platform supplied by Origo. For these, Nest’s average transfer time is 12.2 days, according to the Origo Transfer Index released in July 2019.

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