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Compliance tip of the week: Warnings on pensions access

We continue to receive multiple calls in relation to clients wishing to access their entire pension funds post-April. Although there will be a lot of detailed guidance released on this as we get closer to implementation, I would recommend advisers bear the following key facts in mind: 

– Current FOS/FCA guidance has not changed. Drawdown (whether capped or flexi-access drawdown) cases should continue to be treated under existing COBs rules

– Using the “insistent client” process offers no protection from future FOS complaints

– Benefits accessed flexibly will be means tested by the DWP in relation to other state benefits

– Providers are clearly uneasy processing cases directly – they want an IFA to advise

– Income streams accessed flexibly will result in the annual allowance falling to £10,000

– A firm should ask itself if it can afford the future potential business risk of processing such cases where complaints could occur in the future.

Aileen Lynch is head of technical at Compliance First

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