The Wells Street Journal: DB debacle and regulator redactions

The curious goings-on in the world of financial services

DB debacle 

You have to feel sorry for the FCA sometimes. Given no notice of the freedoms, and with little control over the future of the British Steel pension scheme as it stayed in the headlines this week, it is no wonder the FCA is looking for as much information it can on final salary transfers as much of the advice to transfer looks increasingly suspect.

“Emergency” meetings with advisers have been called, with as many as possible invited to attend. But advisers are under no illusions this is a three-line whip from the regulator. As one firm head describes it, the FCA’s message is clear: “Come to this voluntarily, but if you don’t come we want to know why.”

That combined with a quick email to advice firms about how many BSPS transfer they’ve done should do the trick right? At least one thing seems to have been cleared up in the meetings: the FCA has apparently warned advisers that doing a brief check for no fee to give clients an idea as to the likelihood of a transfer being suitable before charging them for advice in itself counts as a personalised recommendation. That’s that all sorted then….

There was equally impressive clarity from The Pensions Regulator. In response to a Freedom of Information Act request, it released 266 pages of emails between it and the Universities Superannuation scheme. Here is a snapshot of the (heavily redacted) results.

Out of Context

“It’s like trying to turn an oil tanker around”

NS&I’s Andrew Pike on the 150-year-old business’ quest to give advisers better access.

“That is probably the first time IFAs have been foremost in ATS’s thoughts”

An adviser reflects on ATS’s decision to tell key accounts about chief executive Patrick Mill’s departure before the press.

“We need to talk about DB transfer regulation”

IFA Alistair Cunningham’s short and simple message for MM’s editor.


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