Listening in at the Big Picture conference recently and in some of our CX interviews with senior leaders in Wealth Operations over the past few weeks, the subject of ‘Transfers’ (especially in-specie) continues to dominate the agenda. We continue to hear the frustrations from so many participants around the challenges in getting whole of market support for electronic solutions that work consistently for both transfers in and out. Huge strides have been made in recent years to encourage digital adoption with solutions like Origo delivering B2B solutions that have sped up journey times for end consumers, but it still feels like we’re struggling to achieve a consensus on how to deliver a consumer duty aligned outcome. So what is the answer? Should the regulator step in and mandate electronic adoption? In 2023 is it really unreasonable to expect providers to have digital capabilities in place to support customers using their right to move their assets from one provider to another? Should there be a code of conduct that exceeds the current set of targets? We have seen the likes of STAR attempt to cajole participants to sign up to more demanding targets, but without universal adoption, is it just another scheme that has exactly the right intentions, but with little chance of success without greater levels of buy in.

To the customer of course, it’s an unnecessary cause of frustration and annoyance and one they probably had little inkling that it was about to unfold before it was too late. It’s such a complex area and with little transparency around performance, customers are poorly informed about the likelihood of their transfer being processed in a reasonable timeframe. When you can switch banks in 7 days, place sports bets and withdraw your winnings in a matter of hours and find a product, buy it and receive an Amazon delivery in less than a day, why does Wealth lag behind with some transfers taking weeks and sometimes even months to complete?

If the market can’t and won’t come together (and history is a useful indicator here), then the responsibility must lie with the regulator to tighten the rules, apply enforcements and drive-up standards. Consumer Duty is a catalyst for so many positive changes, but closer regulatory scrutiny around Transfers would help eradicate one of the biggest consumer frustrations of all.

Carl Woodward