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One in three advisers carry out insistent client transfers

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Nearly one in three (29 per cent) advisers will advise and transact defined benefit to defined contribution transfers for insistent clients, FCA data has revealed.

In addition, nearly half (47 per cent) will advise and transact safeguarded benefits work even against their recommendation.

An FCA survey of around 200 advisers conducted to inform the financial advice market review, published today, reveals advisers approach to insistent clients.

Attitudes to existing and new clients was nearly identical.

A minority of advisers said they would give advice but not transaction insistent clients.

But around two thirds (58 per cent) would not give advice on DB to DC transfers where the client was insistent, and 33 per cent had the same attitude to safeguarded benefits.

Among those who will not transact, 69 per cent said the risk of future Financial Ombudsman Service complaints was a “very important” reason.

In addition, 45 per cent said professional indemnity insurance concerns were “very important”.

The survey also reveals a tripling (246 per cent) in the number of requests for DB to DC transfer advice from new customers.

For existing customers requests more than doubled (123 per cent).

Dealing with insistent clients has been a controversial issue since the pension freedoms launched in April 2015. A guidance note published by the regulator in 2015 has been criticised for not allaying advisers’ fears over liability.

FCA survey on attitudes to insistent clients


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FCA: It is up to industry to tackle insistent clients issue

The FCA says it is the industry’s “responsibility” to find a solution to the insistent client problem that is holding back savers’ access to the pension freedoms. In a policy statement published today the regulator responded to feedback on pension transfers and clients who want to act against the recommendations of an adviser. It says […]


FOS rules against insistent client pension transfer

The FOS has ruled against advice firm Portal Financial after it transferred the pension of an illiterate insistent client. The client, Mrs W, complained that she wanted to take tax free cash from her pension to pay for new solar panels. She claimed she did not realise Portal had transferred the pension until later. In […]


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There are 8 comments at the moment, we would love to hear your opinion too.

  1. If the regulator is genuninely attempting to protect investors and the industry it is about time that anyone doing these sorts of pension transfers has separate regulatory fee categories. PI requirements should also be specific to the work…. unless of course we can collectively point at the Chancellor for making this an option and send him the complaints and fines in 20-35 years time, when widow finds she doesn’t have a pension.

  2. Surely they have stopped being advisers and turned back into product floggers then?

  3. I wonder just how many of these (1 out of 3) is down to pure laziness ?

    You can see it now, small fee to get the biz, do very little, next to nothing, then either get an client letter stating they are insistent or just tick the client file insistent !

    I bet not one PI insurer will pay out on them if a complaint is upheld ? sorry not if …. when

    The FCA must shoulder some of the blame (in many respects) for making the advice process so damn cumbersome.

    • I agree with you except I have seen some significant work put in to back side covering excercises highlighting clients were advised not to transfer, they then transfer insistently their Final Salary pension in to reccomended car parks in Dubai and former Stassi barracks in Berlin tomaccess tax free cash before NRA which then sits in a savings account. If a complaint gets to the FOS, will they believe the report (written word) or what we all suspect the client was told by the salesman? If the latter (which is what I believe has happened) the FOS may uphold the complaint, but then the firm may collapse and FSCS will become involved… then who pays?

  4. I suppose there are instances where the customer takes advice but then decides to act against advice.

    However, it would be interesting to see how common this was at individual adviser level.

  5. Dominic, Paul, DH, have you had any ‘insistent’ clients? How did you handle them please? Thanks

    • Hi Ted
      To be really honest, I have not had an insistent or should I say, a client who wanted to go against my advice (other than fund choice or maybe risk), you can have a difference of opinion and one where the clients wishes override yours, but in this scenario its a world of difference, maybe its worth expanding on how I personally work, I don’t take on any new client unless its a personal recommendation from and existing client, I don’t advertise and I certainly would not take on a client on the back of a telephone call, so they (recommendations) kind of know from the outset, how I work and what to expect ! I have set this rule for the past 10 years or so.

      But to answer your question in very simple terms, I would refuse to do the transaction, this for me is more of a moral issue; how can you advise some-one to pursue one course of action then do the complete opposite ? irrespective of warnings, disclaimers etc etc etc

      Its like saying to some-one “don’t kill yourself, then go and sell them a gun” thinking you are absolved from blame if they do commit suicide because you told them not to in the first place ! this may be taking things to the extreme but my/your livelihood is very important and I don’t think it can be taken to lightly !

      I don’t recognize an insistent (in the context of the advice process) client full stop, and more importantly neither do the FCA, FOS or PI insurer. Rory Percival was out of order to offer solutions on how to deal with insistent clients, because this implies its the norm not the very rare !

      Maybe I am wrong, 1 in 3 (33.33%) is a strong argument ?

  6. One in three “Advisers” carry out insistent client transfers.Three in three will have to share the burden if/when such transfers later fall on the FSCS. It’s a completely broken system.

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