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Berkeley Burke demands suitability report for client transfers

Berkeley Burke is refusing to approve instructions to transfer clients’ investments without seeing advisers’ suitability reports.

In emails seen by Money Marketing, the Sipp provider says it has adopted the requirement following a recent visit from the FCA and points to a 2009 FSA thematic review into Sipp operators.

But the report only says obtaining copies of the adviser’s suitability reports is an example of good practice.”

Berkeley Burke demanded to see a suitability report when Barretts Financial Solutions senior partner Kim Barrett told the provider to transfer investments from the Parmenion platform to Transact.

Talbot & Muir head of technical support Claire Trott says: “We would not request to see a suitability report, although we have been sent them in the past. We have to trust regulated advisers are giving the most appropriate advice. 

“I cannot see how the Sipp firm can check the report sufficiently if they are not a regulated adviser themselves.”

Rowanmoor head of pensions technical services Robert Graves says: “At one stage there were suggestions that Sipp provider should be asking for suitability letters and such like. But it’s pretty clear from the FCA statements that, no, a Sipp provider isn’t responsible for assessing the suitability of an investment.

“How do we know what’s suitable without knowing the client? That’s the adviser’s job. It’s a very dangerous game to get into.”

Barrett says: “If you’re telling me product providers are going to ask for suitability reports, I think it will bring transfers to a stop, and could breach data protection rules.

“The FCA needs to step in and bring clarity to the situation.”

Berkeley Burke declined to comment.

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Comments

There are 2 comments at the moment, we would love to hear your opinion too.

  1. This seems a bit overkill by BB. If the client was transferring out from a platform or another regulated product into a UCIS or similar, then BB might have a better reason to make such a request?

  2. The unintended consequence for providers, by requesting to see a copy of the report and they processing the transfer, is that they could be seen to confirming that the advice is appropriate. This could then lead to the provider sharing in any future liabilities if the advice is found to be wanting. Proceed with caution.

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