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Opra will blow the whistle to the FSA

IFAs are to be targeted by new Opra procedures for reporting firms which misinform pension scheme trustees to the FSA.

The move comes as pension experts predict that Opra is likely to rely on whistle-blowing by employees to police stakeholder compliance.

In Opra correspondence seen by Money Marketing, the regulator highlights that if it encounters advisers or other professionals misinforming trustees about their duties or pension legislation, it will report them to the FSA for further investigation.

Pension experts suggest that the only way Opra will successfully monitor whether millions of companies with five employees or more have offered their staff access to a stakeholder or suitable alternative pension is by whistle-blowing.

Scottish Equitable pensions development director Stewart Ritchie says: “I think the whistle-blowing route is the only practical one.

“I have already proposed in the columns of Money Marketing that the October 8 episode of Coronation Street should feature an Opra investigation into Mike Baldwin&#39s factory.”

Opra&#39s helpline is expected to act as a whistleblowing hotline for conc-erned employees.

Opra communications manager Nick Edmans says: “Whistle-blowing will work as part of our reactive approach to regulation.

“The reporting procedure is about taking a joined-up Government approach to regulation to ensure that areas outside our remit do not fall between the cracks.”

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