Financial Conduct Authority 

FCA investigates 30 pension advisers

FCA investigates 30 pension advisers

The Financial Conduct Authority is currently investigating 30 unnamed individuals and firms for poor pension transfer advice and scams, according to Labour MP Nick Smith.

The information was revealed by Economic secretary to the Treasury John Glen, who responded to a letter from the Blaenau Gwent MP, who asked for information on what action the regulator has taken against rogue advisers.

Mr Glen also revealed that enforcement action has been taken against 15 businesses and individuals for "pensions misconduct" by the FCA in the last five years.

Mr Smith, who has asked the government to come up with new criminal charges for rogue advisers in the wake of the British Steel debacle, said the response from Treasury raised more questions than answers, and called for tougher action from the watchdog.

He said: "The FCA needed to be far more aggressive in rooting out rogue advisers and protecting pensions. Fifteen enforcement actions in five years just isn’t good enough.

"The fact that there are now 30 investigations under way is a sign that the FCA are starting to improve their game and that is long overdue.

"But this now needs to be properly seen through; rogue advisers have to face serious penalties – up to and including criminal prosecution when there is sufficient evidence."

The regulator announced last year it was conducting a whole of market review of advice given by pension transfer specialists after it found in previous checks that roughly half the advice given had not been suitable.

The Financial Services Compensation Scheme has been dealing with scores of steelworkers who claim they were wrongly advised to transfer out of the BSPS pension scheme.

The FSCS agreed to pay out on behalf of clients but announced in January that BSPS members won’t receive a reduced discount rate for compensation calculations in claims relating to liquidated advice firm Active Wealth.

Active Wealth, which entered into liquidation in February 2018, was one of 10 firms which stopped giving transfer advice after they were identified as key players advising members of the BSPS to transfer out.

maria.espadinha@ft.com

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