Defined Benefit  

Complaints against pension transfer advisers set to plummet

Garon Anthony, partner at law firm Squire Patton Boggs, said: "The new rules mean that advisers must put together reports outlining why they gave a client positive or negative advice. 

"If a client complains about negative advice given to them because it meant that they lost money, the advisers will have a written document as evidence that the client understood the basis under which the advice was given.

"If an adviser can bring forward the suitability report as evidence at the time then it should count as a good defence."  

Al Rush, principal at Rutland-based financial advisers Echelon Wealthcare who helped British Steel pension members, said: "I think complaint numbers will fall because the amount of transfers taking place will fall.

"I doubt that many scheme members will want to pay to be told not to transfer.

"If contingent charging is still permissible, how are those who have less chance of being advised to transfer, because they would benefit from the certainty of defined benefit income, going to pay?" 

Neil Adams, pension and investment strategists at Drewberry Wealth, said a more robust process will reduce the amount of complaints seen in the future.

He said: "A robust advice process will reduce future complaints, whether it is a recommendation to transfer or not. A change in rules is an ideal opportunity to address the whole advice process.

The FCA declined to comment when asked how the new rules would impact the number of complaints made against advisers. 

rosie.quigley@ft.com