UK – The Society of Pension Consultants (SPC) has called for a co-ordinated approach within the pensions industry to further raise pension scheme administration standards.

The call comes from SPC’s administration committee chairman, Ken Edis, in a briefing for its governing council, in which he outlined five areas where he believes affordable improvements could bring benefits for schemes, their members and administration service providers.

The five points are:
•Accuracy of existing data. According to Edis, the annual cost to pension schemes of correcting inaccurate data is thought to be between £500m (€809m) and £1bn.
•Ease of data transfer. SPC is to develop a standard data transfer file, with the aim of making it easier for trustees to move data from one administrator to another, regardless of the systems they use.
*Simplification of legislation. The SPC calls for current Inland Revenue and Department for Work initiatives to lead to requirements that are easier to administer.
•Standard service levels. The Pensions Management Institute is currently sponsoring work on a standard administration service level agreement.
•Extension of ISO 9000. This will cover specific certification of pensions administration services.

Says Edis: “There is a number of very positive initiatives on scheme administration. But there is a risk that we could end up with a fragmented approach, generating unrealistic costs and needless paper trails.”