Cofunds, which is a member of the UK Platform Group, says it is taking the lead in adopting open standard transfers at an estimated cost to itself of over £1m.
The platform provider says it is working with other members of the UK Platform Group which comprises of Fidelity FundsNetwork, Standard Life, Selestia and Skandia Multifunds to have this in place by early 2008.
As reported by Money Marketing in January, the UK Platform group said one of its key objectives this year was to develop robust inter-platform re-registration processes.
Fund supermarkets have been criticised by advisers for not supporting the free re-registration of funds off a platform.
Cofunds says: “Cofunds is actively working with other leading platforms to improve functionality on in specie transfers. As this involves moving a bundle of funds from one platform to another, it is key that both parties can offer an integrated solution – and that the managers of all the funds being moved can also respond. This is therefore a tri-partite process and at present lack of uniformity in data standards makes it unfeasibly lengthy.
Cofunds goes on to say that there are huge differences remaining between old life and pension products where billions of assets remain trapped in old, and sometimes expensive products with limited choice of investment vehicles.
Cofunds says: “This is unfair to a considerable number of investors. Pension transfers should be at a uniformly acceptable standard. First, we believe the FSA should also look at the problems in the transfer of pension products where standards seem to be very uneven and often unsatisfactory from an administration perspective.
“While some insurance companies provide a good service to their clients when a pension transfer is recommended by an adviser, others can take months to complete a pension transfer. We believe that if pension transfers cannot be completed in a reasonable time, this should be looked at as an issue in Treating Customers Fairly.”