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Providers call for FCA insistent clients guidance

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Pension providers are calling on the FCA to publish guidelines on how firms should deal with insistent clients.

Earlier this month the regulator produced a factsheet for advisers on documenting interactions with clients who want to act against recommendations.

Providers say they also need help for customers who ignore advisers and try to transact directly.

However, it is understood the regulator has no current plans to provide further clarity for providers.

Talbot & Muir does not accept insistent clients but head of technical support Claire Trott says: “If there were to be guidance from the FCA that gave us some comfort to accept these types of transfers then it would be a possibility that we could change our stance.”

Dentons technical services director Martin Tilley says: “Providers are torn between transacting a piece of business where the correct legal and regulatory advice process has been followed and accepting the transfer against a regulated IFA’s educated guidance.

“The worry is simply being the regulated party in a transaction that may at some point prove not to have been in the clients best interests. The same fear of regulatory or Ombudsman comeback exists and this is why clear guidance for providers on the steps and good practice to follow should a provider wish to entertain this business is required.”

The FCA declined to comment.

The issue of whether or not to process defined benefit to defined contribution pension transfers following a negative recommendation has sparked a cross-industry debate in the wake of the pension freedoms.

Under rules introduced by the Government, anyone with safeguarded pension benefits worth more than £30,000 is required to take regulated advice before transferring their pot.

The FCA’s adviser guidance says there are three key steps when advising an insistent client: provide suitable and clear advice, make it clear to the client that their actions are against your advice, and be clear with the client what the risks are of going ahead.

It says the second and third points can be set out in the suitability report or elsewhere.

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