Defined Benefit  

Tideway stops DB transfer business

Tideway stops DB transfer business

Pension transfer specialist Tideway has ceased its defined benefit advice business earlier this month, only two years after it relaunched its service for advisers.

According to the FCA's financial services register, Tideway Investment Partners was to immediately cease advice on pension transfers on July 3, and must not complete any pipeline business related to DB pension transfers.

It must also not dispose of any of its assets or sell its client book without the prior consent of the FCA.

Tideway confirmed it was not providing DB transfer advice at the current time in the wake of increased regulatory concerns and the coronavirus crisis.

James Baxter, head of private clients at Tideway, said: “We will use the opportunity to focus on our growing wealth management business with £350m of client assets and keenly watch for developments in the DB transfer advice market.  

“Our decision will allow us to monitor the DB sector, grow our wealth management business as well as explore other new opportunities including those from the growing difficulties in firms obtaining PII cover in light of the market collapse. 

“At the appropriate time, we will re-enter the DB market.”

It comes after the firm relaunched its DB transfer service for advisers in 2018, after withdrawing the service from some advisers and wealth managers the year before.

This was in light of FCA guidance in 2017 on the advice a specialist firm needs to provide when working with an introducing adviser.

At the time, the firm was carrying out the transfers, but the ongoing investment advice was given by the original adviser.

In the same year Tideway faced accusations it was involved in practices of ‘factory gating’, where advisers make efforts to recruit new clients by turning up unsolicited at their place of work.

But Tideway denied these claims, saying all contacts received were based on referrals or from members approaching the firm who had researched pension transfers online.

More recently, the firm warned the FCA’s strict stance on defined benefit work could create adviser bias towards recommending consumers to stay in schemes.

As a result, Tideway calculated, this could cost consumers up to £4bn in one large defined benefit scheme and £25bn across the wider market. 

Earlier this month the regulator commenced its ongoing work on DB transfer advice with a survey sent to thousands of advisers in the sector probing pension transfer advice provided between October 2018 and March 2020.

The list of up to 36 questions included one which asked advisers how much revenue had been received from clients who were advised against a defined benefit transfer but proceeded on an insistent basis anyway. 

amy.austin@ft.com

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