FCA probes pension distribution deals over competition fears

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The FCA has put several pension firms on notice over potentially breaking competition laws around distribution deals and compliance processes.

In one of the first instances of using its competition powers, the regulator has written to firms after reviewing the minutes of meetings on the performance of distribution arrangements.

It says: “As a result we discovered that some of these meetings appeared to operate without any competition compliance protocol to prevent the disclosure of commercially sensitive information.”

A short statement published today does not provide the name, type of firms or detail of the kind of distribution deals in question.

The regulator has met with the firms and says they have made changes as a result.

These include: “Reviewing and self-assessing the arrangements in question as well as other similar arrangements that they have in place, introducing and/or reviewing and updating their competition compliance protocols, and ensuring that all key staff receive competition law training and that this is regularly reviewed and updated.”

The FCA adds: “We would encourage other firms to review their distribution and marketing arrangements to ensure that they comply with competition law. In particular, when engaging with actual or potential competitors, firms should take care not to disclose any commercially sensitive information.”

The action comes as part of the regulator’s retirement income market study. The retirement outcome market study, has been delayed and widened to include the impact of the pension freedoms.