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FSA calls for urgency on preparation for A-Day

The FSA has issued an urgent reminder to IFAs and providers to start planning for A-Day.

In a keynote speech to advisers, FSA director Sarah Wilson said although many firms are working hard to get ready for A-Day, those which have not started preparations need to do so now.

She said advisers needed to discuss relevant issues with their clients and complete training to help them provide suitable advice. Pensions providers should ensure their systems and controls, including IT and other legacy systems are updated to cope with the changes and are able to provide accurate pension projections and benefit statements.

Wilson revealed the FSA is currently investigating a sample of advisers to check their readiness for A-Day. The investigation will run until the end of the year, after which the FSA will continue assessing readiness as part of standard supervision.

Wilson said the FSA’s statement of good practice has secured the support of both the Office of Fair Trading and the FOS.

She said: “While many consumers will not be affected by the new regulations, the FSA considers that the challenges for pension providers and financial advisers are substantial, and we are treating the risks associated with A-Day as a priority.

“It is clear that much work is going on in many firms but, with just six months to go, both firms and advisers now urgently need to start plann- ing for the changes if they have not already done so.”

But Anand Associates managing director Bhupinder Anand says: “It is impossible for us to be completely ready if the people who make the rules don’t know the rules themselves. We are as ready as we can be given that the Inland Revenue is still unclear on important issues surrounding A-Day.”

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