Financial Conduct Authority  

370 firms have left DB market, Bailey tells MPs

370 firms have left DB market, Bailey tells MPs
 Andrew Bailey, outgoing chief executive of the FCA

Head of the financial regulator Andrew Bailey has confirmed 370 firms have left the defined benefit transfer sector over the past two years, totalling 12 per cent of the entire market. 

Speaking at an evidence session in front of the newly-formed Treasury committee this afternoon (March 4) the outgoing chief executive of the Financial Conduct Authority said the general view at the regulator was pension freedoms had been "rushed through too quickly". 

Mr Bailey said: "My underlying observation is if you come into our building you’d find a strong argument that the pension freedoms were introduced too quickly and it does feel we have been on a catch up process as a regulator."

The watchdog boss was asked by MP for Wallasey, Angela Eagle, what the FCA was doing to tackle "high pressure mis-selling" in the defined benefit market, which she warned was having a "devastating effect" on victims. 

Mr Bailey said: "Over the last two years around about 370 firms have left the market because they concluded, or we did not consider, they were [not] set up for it. That’s about 12 per cent of the market. 

"We have a large investigation ongoing surrounding a large number of other firms where we believe there looks like there was mis-selling." 

The Financial Conduct Authority is in the midst of a crackdown on unsuitable defined benefit advice, having warned almost 80 per cent of advisers operating in the market about their practice last year. 

In October Debbie Gupta, director of financial advice at the FCA, said the watchdog had written to more than half of the 2,500 advice firms operating in the defined benefit market expressing its concerns.

Mr Bailey was in front of the Treasury committee in preparation for his move to the Bank of England next week, where he will take up the helm as its governor after incumbent Mark Carney steps down from the role. 

As is procedure, the Treasury committee is tasked with scrutinising the appointment of any new governor of the Bank.

rachel.mortimer@ft.com

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