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McKenna in A-Day alert to providers with closed books

Pension providers with closed books are being warned that they must improve their electronic communication with advisers or risk falling foul of the FSA’s treating customers fairly regime.

Financial Technology Research Centre director Ian McKenna says he is not currently aware of any providers with closed books that have put in place electronic solutions for delivering A-Day information.

He says this raises concerns that a lack of readily available information could harm the ability of IFAs to advise pension clients properly.

The Financial Technology Research Centre has investigated the readiness of pension providers to deliver information to IFAs so that they can advise clients of any actions they should be taking before April 5, 2006.

McKenna says while most providers with open books seem to have this functionality in place, this is not the case for closed book providers.

He warns that this could drastically increase the amount of time it takes for advisers to access the information required to help clients, potentially breaching the TCF regime.

McKenna says: “This is not just an A-Day problem although the date does give it focus. These providers will have to look long and hard at whe- ther this is inhibiting an adviser’s ability to look after their clients and going against the FSA’s TCF regime.”

Capita Sip Services managing director (life and pensions) Steve Parkinson says: “Everyone is making very late decisions about what they are doing pre-A-Day, both open and closed book providers.

“We are not aware of any closed book providers struggling with this issue but, if demand cannot be met electronically, extra staff will be brought in to keep up with adviser demands.”

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