Personal Pension  

Adviser hits back at Phoenix Life’s pension scam claim

“If this is the case then I would have expected Phoenix Life to raise this with me and this would have been very helpful in the industry fight against pensions liberation. I could have stopped this falsification further if it is going on.

“Instead they just refused to acknowledge my request to give my client advice.”

When FTAdviser informed Phoenix Life that Mr Bell disagrees with their claim, a spokesman for the life company said: “As I mentioned before, we reviewed this case and it raised a number of concerns regarding fraud.

“The FCA itself flags that even if a company is registered as an IFA firm, or is not listed on their watch list for fraud, this does not mean there is no risk of a scam.

“We have made Mr Bell aware through communications to him that we had concerns about this issue and he has not asked for the explicit reasons behind this.

“We are happy to explain this to him if he contacts us directly but clearly this is a sensitive issue which we do not think is appropriate to discuss via a third party.”

Mr Bell made an official complaint about Phoenix Life to the FCA on the 28 October, which argued the firm was denying his client fundamental rights to take pensions advice from a qualified individual.

The FCA said in a response to his complaint: “As you’ll be aware, we do regulate Phoenix Life. So, I can assure you that I’ve passed your email to our relevant supervisory area that monitors the firm in question, for their consideration.

“I’m unable to comment specifically about how we may use the information you’ve kindly given us, as we’re prevented from doing so by confidentiality restrictions under section 348 of the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 (FSMA).

“I can assure you that your information will be carefully considered before any appropriate decision is taken.”

Mr Bell has been an independent financial adviser since 2008.

Prior to that he worked in Standard Life’s consultant actuary division for five years and prior to that Barclays Corporate Pensions for three years.

ruth.gillbe@ft.com