FCA warns firms directing customers to in-house services over Pension Wise

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Pension companies are signposting customers towards their own in-house services instead of Pension Wise, FCA research has found.

In a review of how firms direct customers to the Government-backed guidance service, the regulator found “a minority of firms” presented their own offering “in a more prominent manner in written communications in comparison to the signpost to Pension Wise.”

In November 2015 pensions minister Ros Altmann blamed providers for failing to signpost to the guidance service. She said this was damaging take-up.

The FCA’s report also hits out at firms’ monitoring of signposting.

It says in a “number of instances” firms are not using the results of call and case sampling to monitor trends and make improvements.

A “significant” number of providers were found to be not collecting data on guidance signposting beyond the minimum expected by the FCA.

The regulator says: “Without such management information we question firms’ ability to provide effective oversight in this area, which is particularly important given the significant changes in the pensions landscape.”

However, the FCA says the majority of firms surveyed were meeting its requirements around signposting to pension guidance.