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FCA probes ongoing DB transfer advice and costs

The FCA has sent a data request to IFAs asking for the number of clients who have transferred out of a final salary scheme and continue to receive advice.

Money Marketing has seen a list of questions the FCA sent to IFAs today as part of its ongoing work into defined benefit transfers. IFAs have until 3 December to respond.

The data request appears to be a follow on from the fourth round of the FCA’s work on advice suitability relating to pension transfers announced at the annual meeting in September.

Then the watchdog said it would collect data from around 3,000 advisers and publish the results next year.

In the data request sent out today the watchdog wants to know the number of clients invested in a solution that was more expensive than a stakeholder pension scheme.

Specifically it wants to find out how many clients transferred to a Sipp, personal pension and QROPS or other overseas pension scheme.

The regulator also wants IFAs to disclose what percentage of their total income was derived from DB pension transfers.

A source says the data gathering does not come as a surprise as the profession has known for months the FCA would be gathering information.

The question about how many clients invested in a solution that was more expensive than a stakeholder pension scheme could be a way for the watchdog to find out how many transfers have gone to esoteric investments.

The source adds all of this data gathering potentially goes back to British Steel Pension Scheme saga and the lessons which have been learned.

Money Marketing understands the FCA will be collecting data from all firms that have pension transfer permission in order to assess practices across the entire market.

It is understood it wants to understand the extent to which firms are recommending relatively expensive solutions to clients who are transferring their pension.

The FCA declined to comment.

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Comments

There are 4 comments at the moment, we would love to hear your opinion too.

  1. 5e. What percentage of your firm’s total income was derived from DB pension transfers? …Income should be based on initial and ongoing fees collected.

    At what point were we told to set up separate arrangements for DB transfers so that we could isolate the regular fee income attributed to that specific source?

    You’d think they would test their questions out on real world examples before creating a mountain of work for advisors.

    • The FCA has little, if any, comprehension of the real world. Its initiatives are dreamed up by generously salaried armchair theorists who have no comprehension of how things work in the real world, least of all what it’s like to actually run a business.

      That said, this latest initiative is clearly based on trying to shut the stable door long after the horses have bolted, stung as they have been by the scathing criticism meted out by the Work & Pensions Select Committee. Most of the damage has already been done. At this chronically late stage in the day, the best they can do is to try to stop things getting even worse.

  2. So the regulator wants to find out how many clients are receiving ongoing advice, and one of its ways of doing so is to ask how many clients have not been transferred to a product that doesn’t support ongoing advice?

  3. Nicholas Pleasure 13th November 2018 at 9:16 am

    I got one of these and my firm doesn’t have DB transfer permissions. What a waste of time!

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