The number of firms with permissions to advise on defined benefit pension transfers has soared since the pension freedoms, Money Marketing can reveal.
Data obtained from the FCA shows that in April 2015, there were 2,751 firms with permission to undertake the regulated activity ‘advising on pension transfers and opt outs’.
As at September this year, that number had increase to 4,789, a 75 per cent increase.
While businesses with this permission may not necessarily have conducted defined benefit pension transfer business, the figures point to a steep rise in firms looking to cash in on advising on switches away from safeguarded benefits.
Data obtained from the FCA also shows that, since the freedoms, at least 50 firms have had their pensions transfer permissions removed at the request of the firm, sometimes following discussions with the FCA.
Four firms have had all of their permissions removed as a result of specific FCA action over the period.
In total, 351 firms have had their permissions to conduct all regulated activities removed since April 2015 following a request from the firm, of which some will related to DB transfer business.
The FCA recently included 92 firms in its review of the DB transfer market, visiting twelve of them during the process.
The regulator published feedback from its review earlier this month, listing among its concerns the relationship between introducers and pensions advice firms.
It said that common issues included failing to account for personal circumstances sufficiently, not matching needs and objectives with the recommendation, and inadequate assessment of risk tolerance.