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FCA extends Sipp asset probe deadline after backlash

FCA extends Sipp asset probe deadline after backlash

The Financial Conduct Authority has given self-invested personal pension providers more time to fill out its information request regarding assets held in these wrappers.

In a letter this week (March 14), the City watchdog said that, following recent feedback from firms that the scope of the FCA’s request was more onerous than anticipated, it has made several amendments to help reduce this burden.

This came after firms complained that the original timeframe given by the FCA was much too tight.

The information request was originally sent to providers on February 16 with a deadline of April 6, but the regulator has since extended the deadline by four weeks to May 4.

However, the regulator said if providers can complete the request ahead of this date, then they should submit it as soon as possible.

It stated: “The revised deadline means firms will have had a total of 11 weeks to complete this request. No further extensions will be offered.”

The information request is similar to previous requests, including the last one in 2020, according to the FCA.

However, this time round the FCA is asking for more information after it found that non-standard investments were being miscategorised by providers.

An FCA spokesperson said: “We regularly ask Sipp providers for information - for example, details of the types of assets they hold on savers’ behalf - to helps us identify potential consumer harm. 

“This year we expanded our request after we found several instances of firms miscategorising non-standard investments.”

What the FCA is asking

The request, seen by FTAdviser, asks providers for information about assets under administration for both standard and non-standard assets, as well as the total number of members it has in its schemes.

Each provider must report the total number of Sipp investors, the total value of Sipp investments held by these investors and the total value of Sipp investments in non-standard assets.

The FCA also wants each provider to provide a breakdown of this information according to the share of the value in non-standard asset investments, as at December 2021.

The regulator also asks for data on inflows and outflows from non-standard assets, whether advice on standard assets was provided by an overseas adviser and whether the provider has an international Sipp.

There is also a section asking about the number of complaints the provider has open and closed, the number that have been upheld and the total redress paid.

The Association of Member Directed Pension Schemes, the industry body representing Sipp and Ssas operators, had been in talks with the FCA about this request and the volume of information asked for in a short timeframe.

An Amps spokesperson told FTAdviser: “The FCA approached Amps for feedback prior to the data request being issued, and it was clear that it was going to be a sizeable task for providers given the inclusion of data relating to standard investments.