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Advisers raise concerns as FCA sends another Covid survey

Advisers raise concerns as FCA sends another Covid survey

The City watchdog has revealed it will be repeating its Covid-19 survey to probe advisers on their financial resilience but some advisers raised concerns after receiving the email.

In an email sent this morning (September 14), the Financial Conduct Authority told advisers it would be repeating its Covid-19 survey to “understand the change in firms’ financial positions with time”.

According to the regulator, advisers should receive the new survey between 16 and 22 September. It is mandatory for them to respond.

The FCA will use the responses alongside existing data to support its ongoing work and said it expected to repeat the survey on more occasions. 

Advisers were sent the first Covid-19 survey in June, which asked them for information on the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on their businesses.

But Nick Bamford, executive director at Informed Choice said the latest survey would be the fifth one sent to advisers by the FCA this year.

He said: “We have already been sent two [Retail Mediation Activities Return] Gabriel returns, of which one was sent last week, a Covid-19 financial questionnaire and a defined benefit transfer questionnaire.”

When the latest email arrived in advisers’ inboxes this morning, many were concerned it was a scam as they were not familiar with the email address it was sent from.

But the FCA has confirmed the FCA@fcanewsletters.org.uk address it was sent from is legitimate.

The FCA stated: “We know firms will be concerned about phishing emails and scams at this time. Please check that the e-mail address is from FCA@fcanewsletters.org.uk or an fca.org.uk e-mail address when you receive the survey.”

Russell Facer, managing director at Threesixty Services, said he had recently issued a note to clients warning them about scam messages and said it would be “really beneficial if the FCA had a standard email address for surveys and regulatory requests so firms know the legitimacy”. 

He said: “Firms are keen to be supportive and have good relations with the FCA and are at risk of responding to scam messages.

“It is good that the FCA are lettering people know that they are issuing a request (with no links, or data being requested in the email), but it is disappointing that this is required.”

Dennis Hall, chief executive and chartered financial planner at Yellowtail Financial Planning, said: “ I have received several emails from FCA using this particular domain @fcanewsletters.org.uk - all their 'regulation roundup' bulletins have been coming from this domain. 

“Unfortunately this does cause confusion because all my reporting reminders come from @fca.org.uk and emails like this which are a hybrid, not a Gabriel reporting request, but an ad hoc reporting request, mean they can be mistaken for scams. 

“I don't recall ever getting an email from FCA that they were using a third party emailing account for this kind of broadcast. When they're asking for highly sensitive information I would expect them to help us be certain who it's from. So far they haven't and rightly people are concerned.”