Pensions  

FCA completes Famr recommendations

FCA completes Famr recommendations

The Financial Conduct Authority has confirmed it has now implemented all the recommendations from the Financial Advice Market Review (Famr).

It follows the publication of guidance on what constitutes a personal recommendation earlier this year.

According to the regulator's annual report, the FCA implemented all the recommendations apart from the review, which is due to take place next year.

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The FCA and Treasury Famr joint report, published in 2016, introduced 28 market recommendations, aimed at closing the advice gap and achieving “a real improvement in the affordability and accessibility of advice and guidance to people at all stages of their lives”.

During the year the FCA also assessed seven online discretionary investment management propositions and three online investment advice services.

It carried out 14 enforcement investigations about firms providing a large amount of defined benefit transfer advice during 2017/18.

The regulator said it has been focusing on acting on intelligence about specific firms and assessing the firms which provide the greatest level of defined benefit transfer advice.

This resulted in 14 investigations being opened on pension transfer advice and 10 firms ceasing to provide pension transfer advice in relation to the British Steel Pension Scheme.

As a result of concerns around DB transfers the FCA has mooted the possibility of a ban on contingent charging and it has said it will set out its next steps on this in the autumn.

During 2017/18 the FCA also issued 269 final notices across the whole financial services sector, including 16 fines totalling £69.9m.

Andrew Bailey, the chief executive of the FCA, said: "Our work this year has sent a clear message to firms that if they do not treat customers fairly, then we will take action.

"However, there is still a significant and ongoing amount of work needed to ensure consumers can be consistently confident in the financial products and services they rely on."

Mr Bailey added that the FCA is devoting "considerable" resources to the regulator's work on the UK's withdrawal from the European Union, both to help the government and firms.

During the year the FCA also began its work on extending the senior managers' regime to cover the whole financial services sector, launched a campaign to alert payment protection insurance customers about the upcoming deadline for complaints and published its retirement outcomes review.

In the FCA's annual survey of how effective firms thought the regulator was, 71 per cent gave it a rating between seven and 10 - an increase on the previous year.

From a financial perspective, the FCA had a total income of £600m during the year - up from £574.9m the year before - and operating costs of £547.1m - also increased from £518.8m.

This meant the FCA had a surplus of £53.2m, which was down on the surplus it posted for the previous year of £56.1m.

damian.fantato@ft.com