A total of 92 firms were included in the FCA’s review of defined benefit transfer advice, the regulator has confirmed.
Money Marketing understands that only 10 of these were visited by the FCA, however.
Money Marketing has seen a file request regarding DB transfer advice dating back to early 2016 where a firm had been identified as having conducted an increased volume of transfers in the wake of the freedoms.
The review is being described as a multi-firm supervision exercise, and it is understood that the regulator will produce some kind of formal response to the review.
However, it is unclear whether this will take the form of further guidance, rule changes or additional enforcement action.
At present, Money Marketing is aware of three firms that have been visited by the FCA (Tideway, CFPML and HDIFA), two that have signed voluntary agreements to cease business (Intelligent Pensions and Financial Solutions Midhurst), one that was ordered to cease business (Strategic Wealth UK), and two that have temporarily suspended some services (Selectapension and O&M Pension Solutions).
O&M’s regulated DB pension advice service, Transfer Adviser, remains open to current and new customers, but its non regulated transfer value analysis only service, Transfer Bureau, is suspended to new registrations due to the number of requests it was receiving from existing customers.
The review has resulted in guidance notes and a consultation paper on DB transfer advice from the FCA this year.
The consultation last month proposed new rules to ensure advisers were giving personalised recommendations to transfer and updating the requirements for transfer value analysis. While the FCA says it is still of the belief that most pension transfers will not be in a client’s best interests, it has recommended in the paper that advisers should not have to assume this is the case.