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FCA eyes clearer register warnings for suspect pension transfer firms

Tablet-Technology-Computer-Business-700x450.jpgThe FCA is looking to improve the clarity of its register so warnings against bad advice firms such as those involved in unsuitable defined benefit pension transfers are easier to spot.

In an interview with Channel 4 News last night, FCA supervision director Megan Butler recognised that the current display, which does not immediately show restrictions to permissions and only features them further down a firm’s entry, was not always clear for consumers.

Butler said: “I recognise it’s not always easy to find but we are thinking about the register very hard. We are thinking about it and as consumers are likely to use it more and more moving forwards, we will have a look.”

Butler was responding to criticisms over advice firms involved in transfers out of the British Steel Pension Schemes and whether the FCA had given enough information to customers about them.

The names of three firms that have ceased conducting pension business after FCA investigation had been listed on the FCA register, but Butler yesterday told a committee of MPs these names so they were in a public record.

They are Active Wealth, Pembrokeshire Mortgage Centre Limited and Mansion Park. A fourth firm is still under investigation.

Mansion Park told Channel 4 that it only recommends regulated funds and defended the suitability of its advice. Pembrokeshire also said it was confident its advice was suitable, while Active Wealth said it had been ‘unfairly singled out’.

Butler told Channel 4: “Across a wide range of advisers across the country, we saw quite low rates of proven suitable advice, less than 50 per cent…It would certainly indicate that the advisory community needs to improve.”

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Comments

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

  1. “Megan Butler recognised that the current display, which does not immediately show restrictions to permissions and only features them further down a firm’s entry, was not always clear for consumers.”

    It’s either clear or it isn’t, I raised this in a previous article.

    Given the register has been around for a long time, I would be curious to know whether the FCA have considered how useable it is in this regard for customers and firms up to now. When advisers haven’t made something quite clear enough they get slated. When the FCA do the same they simply ‘have a look’ at it. Advisers appear to be held to much higher standards than the people who regulate them.

    • ‘Twas ever thus. That aside, if a firm has (voluntarily or otherwise) suspended giving advice on DB transfers, the worst disadvantage to consumers will be a wasted ‘phone call, as the firm in question will (have to) state straight away that it’s not currently active in this area.

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