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FCA warns advisers over pension liberation

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FCA chief executive Martin Wheatley

Financial Conduct Authority chief executive Martin Wheatley is cracking down on adviser firms that work with pension liberation schemes.

Speaking at an FCA financial crime conference in London today, Wheatley said regulated firms can give liberation schemes the “veneer of respectability”.

Wheatley highlighted huge increases in liberation attempts this year at Friends Life and Phoenix.

He also warned about the damaging impact it can have on pensioners.

He said: “As part of our prevention work the FCA is investigating how to protect pension pots on top of the work being done by police, so we can clamp down on the directions of advisers and firms who give pension liberation the veneer of respectability. It is important work for the FCA but also for firms to be alive to the dangers of pension liberation and be quick to pick it up.”

FCA director of crime and enforcement Tracey McDermott echoed Wheatley’s warning to advisers on liberation schemes in a later speech.

McDermott said: “The involvement of authorised firms in these schemes can given them an air of unwarranted legitimacy.

“Anyone involved in this market needs to look very carefully at what they offer to their clients and how they advise them. You should have no doubt we will take seriously if you fail to do so.”

McDermott’s speech echoes earlier comments made at a conference last month, where she told delegates the regulator was scrutinising the role of advisers and providers in pension liberation schemes with The Pensions Regulator and HM Revenue & Customs.

A number of providers, including Aviva and Friends Life, say they have experienced a significant increase in transfers to “high risk” schemes in recent months.

The Pensions Regulator has said it is considering introducing a pension liberation “watch list” as part of a clamp-down on fraudulent schemes.

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Comments

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

  1. Lots of talk from the various regulators but very little action from what I have seen.

    This is a real issue and it must be dealt with now.

    Strong words and threats dont work. The advisers that are advising on these schemes dont give a monkeys what you say. All they see is £££!

  2. It seems to me that this is another case where we (that is IFA’s who are trying to do a respectable job) can expect to be hit with more costs to bail out people who have fallen prey to these schemes. (I also believe that some “clients” are very much aware of what is on but they will be the first to make a claim for recompense) The FCA should act immediately to stop this by making it clear that advisers who are quilty of such practices will be pursued instead of simply giving everybody else a bill to cover the costs. Life companies need to provide the details of all IFA’s they suspect are involved in these schemes to the FCA now. I am fed up with paying for other peoples greed. It is difficult enough now without additional burdens.

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