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FSA A-Day campaign raises adviser fears over wording

The FSA is starting a campaign requiring advisers to contact all clients who will be “affected” by A-Day and notify them of the impending rule changes.

The vagueness of the wording has raised concerns among some advisers, who are worried about the expense of contacting significant numbers of clients.

The regulator says it will not take a prescriptive approach but advisers need to apply the treating customers fairly initiative.

Syndaxi Financial Planning director Robert Reid says while it is prudent to contact all clients, this would be a costly exercise and arguably pointless for those in generous non-contributory occupational schemes or with tiny old pension pots.

He says, on one level, everyone is affected because changes to trivial commutation rules mean that those with pension pots under 15,000 can take them as cash. But he believes it should only be essential to contact clients who are adversely affected by the rule changes.

The FSA stresses that the plans are still in the formative stages. It has not decided how to get its message across to advisers but it is likely to be through letters and a series of events up to next April.

St James’s Place head of pensions Ian Price says the run-up to A-Day is a good business opportunity and a chance to cement client relationships.

Price says: “Most reputable advisers will be contacting clients about A-Day. It makes business sense and should be part of the ongoing advice process.”

Reid says: “It is prudent but a big cost. The FSA should say any client significantly or adversely affected should be contacted.”

FSA spokeswoman Abi Jones says: “We want advisers to let their clients know if they are affected by A-Day.”

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