FCA orders adviser to stop pension business

FCA orders adviser to stop pension business

The Financial Conduct Authority has told a Welsh IFA firm to immediately stop all pension-related business until a review is completed.

Strategic Wealth UK, based in north Wales, is subject to a review carried out by an independent skilled person.

Until this person has confirmed to the FCA that the firm’s business model is compliant and has “robust” systems and controls, it must cease all pensions business and pension-related business.

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The FCA has also placed asset retention restrictions on the firm, meaning it cannot dispose of, deal with or diminish the value of its assets without the FCA’s consent.

An identical restriction has been placed on its appointed representative Synergy Wealth Ltd.

Strategic Wealth claims to have a team of specialist offshore advisers which can advise on Qrops, Qnups and offshore lifetime annuities.

The FCA’s statement does not mention whether its action relates to Strategic Wealth’s overseas pensions activities.

But if it did it would be the latest in a number of firms to fall foul of the regulator on this issue.

In March the regulator told Dubai-based Holborn Assets to “immediately cease” all regulated activity relating to pension transfer business introduced by overseas advisers until a skilled person has signed off the company’s advice process.

Meanwhile in February DeVere UK agreed to stop providing third party companies with transfer value analysis reports.

Figures acquired by FTAdviser in April showed there were 54 advice firms voluntarily restricted from carrying out pension transfers.

This year alone the regulator has entered into such an agreement with 16 firms.