Defined Benefit 

Threesixty launches 'high risk' support

Threesixty launches 'high risk' support

Support services provider Threesixty is launching a service to help financial advisers comply with the regulator's standards on defined benefit transfers.

The new service will provide advisers with information and support on DB transfer business as well as outsourcing to discretionary fund managers.

It will also provide training on the Financial Conduct Authority’s senior managers and certificate regime, which comes into force in December.

In total are ten services available as part of the offering, which all help advisers on areas identified as high risk by Threesixty.

Gary Crossley, compliance director at Threesixty, said: "When advising clients in higher risk areas, products or services, it’s important that you can do so with the peace of mind and comfort that the processes you have deliver appropriate client outcomes when they are followed.

"Advisers we speak to are looking for extra guidance on hotly-debated topics such as DB transfers, and the impending SM&CR.

"We want them to know if that's what their business needs we can focus in on a single area, or mix and match that service with others from the menu."

The ten services offered are split into four main areas which fall under the categories of people development, business management, product governance and investment proposition and supporting process.

This covers the senior manager regime, post-FCA authorisation, investment governance, and discretionary fund manager client sign-up, as well as the DB benefit transfer process.

There has been a surge in DB transfer activity since 2015 as scheme members sought to take advantage of the freedoms afforded to defined contribution pension holders. 

But the trend is slowing. Figures from the Office of National Statistics in March showed that funds transferred out of pension schemes decreased 10.5 per cent in 2018, when compared with the previous year.

In 2018 the value of funds transferred out amounted to £33bn - £3.9bn less than the £36.9bn recorded in the year before.

From December 9, 2019, the SM&CR will apply to all financial services firms that are regulated solely by the FCA and authorised under the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000.

The SM&CR originally came into force on March 7, 2016 and applied to UK banks, lenders, and the largest investment firms regulated by the Prudential Regulation Authority and the FCA.

Threesixty provides advice and personalised solutions to over 900 directly regulated IFA practices, including over 100 discretionary management firms.

amy.austin@ft.com

What do you think about the issues raised by this story? Email us on fa.letters@ft.com to let us know