deVere ceases pension transfer advice amid FCA review
deVere UK has voluntarily agreed to stop providing pension transfer reports after a meeting with the FCA.
The FCA will now launch a Section 166 review into the firm’s pension transfer practices. On its website, the FCA says this involves investigating aspects of a regulated firm’s activities if it is “concerned or wants further analysis”.
As part of the agreement, deVere will stop providing reports to third party companies which assist them in transferring customers’ DB pensions.
A spokesperson for deVere said: “deVere UK, in complying with the new FCA requirements, worked with divisions within deVere in seeking to represent clients’ interests cross border. No advice or information was provided to any other third party company.
“deVere UK wrote directly to the FCA on this matter and this resulted in a meeting. The firm, recognising the FCA wanted to strengthen procedures, entered into a voluntary requirement to cease providing advice in this arena.
“We continue to work alongside the FCA’s appointed independent body through the Section 166. As one of the sectors leading providers of overseas pension transfers to international clients, we fully support and welcome this review.
“We are confident that there has been no detriment to clients, and there have been no client complaints. Working with the FCA, we have taken decisive steps to ensure our clients’ best interests have been served.”
Last month, the FCA issued a warning on pension transfer advice after finding that firms have been advising on pension transfers or switches without considering the assets in which their client’s funds will be invested.
Clarifying its expectations for firms, the FCA said: “We expect a firm advising on a pension transfer from a defined benefit scheme or other scheme with safeguarded benefits to consider the assets in which the client’s funds will be invested as well as the specific receiving scheme. It is the responsibility of the firm advising on the transfer to take into account the characteristics of these assets.
“Unless the advice has taken into account the likely expected returns of the assets, as well as the associated risks and all costs and charges that will be borne by the client, it is unlikely that the advice will meet our expectations.”
It stressed that a firm advising on a pension transfer should not undertake a comparison using generic assumptions for hypothetical receiving schemes and must take into account the likely expected returns of the assets in which the client’s funds will be invested as well as the specific receiving scheme.
The FCA also reiterated that it is not acceptable for a firm without permissions to outsource the transfer analysis to a pension transfer specialist or to a firm with the permission, and claim to be advising on the pension transfer.
It also set out rules surrounding advice on pension transfers to overseas schemes.
The FCA said: “We acknowledge that non-UK residents considering a pension transfer are likely to need to seek advice from both an overseas adviser for investment advice and a UK adviser for advice on the proposed transfer.
“In order to advise on the merits of the proposed transfer, the UK adviser should take into account the specific receiving scheme, including the likely expected returns of the assets in which their client’s funds will be invested, the associated risks, and all costs and charges that would be borne by their client. This means liaising with the overseas adviser where necessary.”
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