Industry and FCA bid to speed up transfers

Industry and FCA bid to speed up transfers

An industry working group has been established to improve pension and investment transfer standards, while the FCA has stepped up attempts to do the same for cash Isas.

The working group has issued a consultation paper looking at how to create better accountability for each stage of the transfer process. One member of the group, Hargreaves Lansdown, says it takes some benefits consultancies and pension firms more than 40 days on average to complete a transfer.

The firm says it would ultimately like to see transfers take no more than seven days – the same length of time that the FCA is attempting to enforce for most cash Isa transfers. Providers will be expected to carry out 80 per cent of cash Isa transfers within a week under new rules imposed by the regulator.

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Currently, 66 per cent of cash Isa transfers are processed within seven days.

Transparency initiatives are not limited to transfer times. Carol Knight, chief operations officer (COO) of the Tax Incentivised Savings Association (Tisa), welcomed other measures announced by the FCA. As of 1 December 2016, for example, firms are required to provide a “summary box of the main features” of a product.

Ms Knight said: “Making sure that information is being presented in a consistent way across the industry so consumers can compare on a like-for-like basis, and know what they’re getting for their money, is really important.”

Dhawal Chandan, director of Glasgow-based adviser firm Just Financial Group, suggested that firms should do more than just relying on electronic communications.

“We need to remember that the older generation may not trust, or be comfortable with, carrying out their financial business online. These customers need to be treated fairly, and giving them an easy and quick to read summary of the various options available to them, both externally and internally, could possibly be the answer,” Mr Chandan explained.