The Gold Standard Awards are open to UK-based financial services groups or specialist financial companies offering their own products and services. The categories currently accepted for consideration are fund management, wealth management, discretionary portfolio management, financial advice, pensions, retirement, protection and insurance.
The awards do not operate a winner and highly commended system. All those who pass the appropriate measurements and judging can achieve a Gold Standard.
Companies wishing to enter the Gold Standard Award scheme must complete a detailed questionnaire, which has been constructed using the knowledge of industry experts and take a ‘five pillar' approach to assessment.
The five pillars of measurement are:
1. Financial Strength: This has been defined in terms of the financial ability of the entrant organisation to meet what its customers reasonably expect through its ability to survive in an appropriate form. The differences between the provider types under consideration will be taken into account. Providers will be rated among their peer sector, rather than as a global population of entrants.
2. Capability: This area looks at the overall expertise of the company to conduct the business category entered. Typical elements taken into consideration include business structure, staff expertise and training.
3. Service: This assesses the ability of the company to maintain an effective pre and post-sales relationship with the distributor and/or consumer. Typical areas assessed are forms of communication, quality and levels of service on offer.
4. Fair Value: This assesses whether the customer is obtaining value for money by comparing charges and benefits against a typical range of products for the category entered. Companies offering specialist products only will be assessed against similar groups.
5. Trust: The ability of a company to promote confidence through the customer experience, the media, advertising and marketing. Judges will be looking for a coherent message, which is transmitted not only to customers but within the company itself. Attention will also be paid to the ethical use of product literature and performance as well as the adoption of corporate governance standards and social responsibility.
How the Gold Standards judging process works
The Gold Standard Awards assess financial strength, capability, service, fair value and trust in a variety of methods including information supplied by entrants in the form of questionnaires and evidence, as well as the use of third party sources to assess areas such as financial strength and fair value.
An independent panel of expert judges assess entries. The decision of the judging panel is final and the judges withhold the right not to give awards in categories where the required standard has not been met. We also use certain outside agencies such as AKG to determine financial strength.
The Gold Standard is valid for a one-year period from the date of the Award.