NAVA Inc. and International Business Machine Corp. have completed a project that could help promote more automation of the annuity sales process.

NAVA, Reston, Va., and IBM, Armonk, N.Y., have released the first Common Reference Architecture Model for NAVA’s Straight-through Processing Standards Initiative.

The STP project is an effort to use technology to make selling annuities easier and faster.

The new batch of STP standards includes process for ensuring that annuities are suitable for their purchasers along with processes for handling electronic signatures, electronic forms, privacy policies and records management, according to NAVA and IBM.

The reference model was developed by IBM together with NAVA, the organizations say.

The reference model is an extention of the STP process model, and it can help annuity distributors, annuity manufacturers and technology vendors put the process model standards into action, according to IBM and NAVA.

“This is the first time that any segment of the financial industry has undertaken a business process automation program of this size and magnitude,” Karla Norsworthy, an IBM vice president, says in a statement about the STP project.

Many large distributors, such as Fidelity Investments, Boston, already are implementing STP projects, IBM and NAVA report.

NAVA is taking responsibility for explaining the STP standards to state and federal regulators.