FCA quizzes providers on pension switching times

FCA quizzes providers on pension switching times

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has submitted data requests to pension providers regarding transfer times in non-workplace pensions.

Following the FCA’s launch of its Effective Competition in Non-workplace Pensionsdiscussion paper in February of this year, the watchdog is asking providers for their transfer data.

Providers are being asked about how long it takes for customers to switch to other providers, a full description of charging structures and information on exit fees, the regulator has confirmed.

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The data request will aim to monitor competition within the non workplace pension space and ensure that fairer outcomes are achieved for customers when they switch providers.

Both Aegon and Aviva have confirmed that they have received the data request from the FCA, but neither could disclose details of the request.

A spokesman from the FCA said: "We launched a discussion paper into this issue in February of this year, and this data request is a continuation of the discussion with the industry.

"We are looking to find out what is influencing the behaviour of consumers and ensure fairer outcomes for them. The data request will also help to gauge competition in the industry."

The findings of the watchdog’s discussion paper are set to be published by the end of 2018.

Danny Cox, financial planner at Hargreaves Lansdown, said: "The increased scrutiny on transfer times will shine a light on pension provider behaviour and ultimately drive better outcomes for investors."

Earlier this week FTAdviser published data from fintech provider PensionBee, which found big discrepancies in the switching times of defined contribution pensions.

While some providers were able to administer the transfers in 13 days, some took as long as 52 days to process the requests.