Emma Ann Hughes 

FCA needs to register their failings

Emma Ann Hughes

Emma Ann Hughes

When will the government give the Financial Conduct Authority a kick up the backside and force it to produce a decent industry register?

This week MPs were told around 13,000 steelworkers who requested a pension transfer value from the British Steel Pension Scheme (BSPS) have struggled to find a qualified adviser using the Financial Conduct Authority register.

Rich Caddy, shift operations manager at British Steel in Teesside, said he was told to look at the FCA register to find a pension transfer specialist.

He said: “After looking at the drop-down menu [of a firm's register page] I found that they were not able to give pension transfers advice.

"This process could be made so much easier if I was able to find a pension transfer specialist just by putting in a post code."

This isn’t the first time the FCA’s register has been criticised.

Back in 2016, the Financial Conduct Authority came under fire from the complaints commissioner for the way it listed a former Sesame adviser.

The commissioner recommended the FCA pay the adviser £6,000 in compensation, but the regulator refused to cough up to the adviser that it wrongly listed as suspended on the financial services register.

The FCA admitted the register displayed a former trading name of the adviser’s firm, which was suspended, without making it clear the suspension related to a firm her current business was no longer associated with.

Instead the FCA said: “The register holds hundreds of thousands of entries for firms and individuals.

"Robust processes have been designed to remove the risk of errors occurring.

“Correcting these matters should not, however, create an expectation that substantial compensation will be available where errors occur.”

This week, yet more shortcomings of the regulator’s register were flagged in front of a committee of MPs.

The FCA’s register is too important to fail to clearly communicate to consumers.

Without wishing to sound like a broken record - but clearly it needs repeating again - a register is an important document. A register is defined as an official list or record of items or names.

The financial services register is a public record that consumers rely on to check you aren’t some dodgy dealer and turn to in their hour of need to find a qualified individual capable of helping them.

It is a very important register as it should stop consumers falling into the clutches of pension scammers, rogues and thieves.

The register shows details of firms, individuals and other bodies that are, or have been, regulated by the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) and/or the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).

Rather than clarify the type of person your clients are dealing with the Financial Conduct Authority’s register is sometimes confusing them and tricky to navigate.