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Wheatley: ‘Second line of defence’ rules won’t be published until March

Pensions providers will have to wait until March to receive final rules on the information they must give to customers looking to access their funds under new freedoms.

The FCA wrote to providers in late January confirming it would introduce a so-called ‘second line of defence’ ahead of new pension freedoms coming into force in April.

The intervention came after concerns were raised savers who did not accept the Government’s “guidance guarantee” offer would receive no help on their retirement options.

Questioned in the Treasury Select Committee today by Labour MP Andy Love, Wheatley said the letter to providers did not represent an admission that the existing regulatory infrastructure is inadequate.

“The providers themselves were saying they would like some further guidance as to what is expected of them, so it was us responding to an industry need,” Wheatley said.

“We felt our [existing] guidance was enough, but it is the industry that has turned around and asked for more help. What we are doing is codifying what is good practice.”

He added that the formal rules will be introduced one month ahead of the new freedoms coming into force.

“We’ve given a fairly good signposting as to what they will be, but the formal rulemaking will be in March,” Wheatley said, adding that the regulator had not spoken to Government about the prospect of delaying the reforms.

“The Treasury have set the timetable and we are working to the timetable that they have set,” he said.


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There are 6 comments at the moment, we would love to hear your opinion too.

  1. When in March, 31st !!!!!.

    This is going to be a complete disaster.
    I am bracing myself and clients for months of frustration and paralysis.

  2. Is it not amazing? The industry has asked for further guidance presumably on the grounds that the existing guidance is lacking in some areas. The FCA say the guidance is adequate but they will issue more guidance to clarify the position. Reminds me of school kids. ‘Please Miss, I did not do it, and it was not a bad thing anyway, but I will put it right and I will not do it again’ Not an exact analogy but it does seem to sum up the FCA’s approach to guidance. Deny everything!

  3. So the Government think up the idea before March 2014 and tell everyone what they are going to do over the next 6 months. so they and their appointed quangocrats have nearly a year to get their ars@@@ in gear while the providers less than a month and their printers have even less, while the people who have to explain it to the consumer and then ADVISE will get even less and are expected to have INFINITE liability for any mistakes we make in explaining the information and rules which have not been tested at all!!!!

  4. Look I think we all have to be honest here !!

    Its got sod all to do with the government, and its time line !

    Firstly the FCA have to honest with themselves and then honest with the industry and just say the rule book and the shed load of guidance notes accompanying it, is just not fit for purpose !!

    For crying out loud its like we are asking for guidance on the guidance !!! let alone trying to navigate the rule book !!

    If the FCA want to be a completely different animal and instil change, they need to stop trying to do it by head butting their own reflection in the mirror, it wont help !!! all they need to do is step back put a little more thought around their own objectives and commitment.

    Is the financial services industry running smoothly ? NO !!
    Is there competition ? NO !!
    Is there innovation ? NO !!
    Is the FCA putting the needs of the consumer first ? well that’s up for debate, but I would say sadly not !!
    Has the RDR got any “measurable” evidence it has achieved any of its objectives, other the exams and partly getting rid of commissions ? NO !!!

    If you are reading this Mr Wheatley, can I suggest you stop listening to the institutionally prejudiced legacy of people still left there from the FSA and beyond, sit yourself down in a dark room with a bottle of scotch and make some bold decisions, you are a very expensive joke, a container ship trying to turn round half way up the Thames as its gone to far !!

  5. I can’t see a huge amount of joined up thinking here but I suppose the only good thing is that whillst left hand is electioneering, right hand is giving time to start putting money away for the FSCS/FOS levies that will accompany this escapade!

  6. Isn’t a March target date (surely the 12th hour) leaving things just a bit flipping late?

    And, as ever, might not much of this uncertainty be avoided if the FCA was simply to mandate OM as the default option? Providers could be barred from allowing people to access their pension funds unless they can produce some sort of certificate to confirm that they’ve taken advice, or at least guidance, so that they have at least some idea of the implications of what they want to do.

    Gordon Bennett, how much more straightforward could it be?

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