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FCA looks into transfers and advice gap: week in news

FCA looks into transfers and advice gap: week in news

This week has seen the UK gradually emerge from the wreckage of the recent general election and get back to business. Let us take a look at the week in news.

1) Advice own goal

Former England striker Alan Shearer is used to scoring plenty of goals, but it looks like his retirement goals have caused more problems for him.

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The Premier League record goal scorer tried to sue his one-time financial adviser Kevin Neal, as well as Suffolk Life, for £9m in damages this week.

Mr Shearer claims Mr Neal was ‘careless’ and ‘dishonest’ in his management of the Match of The Day pundit’s pension investments, while Suffolk Life failed to abide by its regulatory duties.

He said Mr Shearer and his wife relied on professional advisers and the claims focus on decisions made relating to a personal pension, which had been worth more than £4m.

Defending himself, Mr Neal said that the couple had done well out of one investment fund and that the claim “is just driven by pure greed and ego.”

But after one day of the court hearing Mr Shearer and the defendants reached a settlement, meaning proceedings didn’t even get to extra time.

2) Transfer gossip

At this time of the year it is common to hear rumours about whether Cristiano Ronaldo is moving to Hartlepool United or Eden Hazard is being signed by Forest Green Rovers.

But it is transfers of a different type which advisers are currently focused on: defined benefit ones.

This week we found out that the Financial Conduct Authority is currently carrying out a desk-based study into advice firms doing a “significant” amount of defined benefit transfer business.

Among the concerns the regulator is believed to have is the conflicts of interest involved in the process.

The work is understood to not be a formal review or study but is a piece of supervisory work in which the FCA is looking at advice firms which have increased the number of defined benefit transfers they have been doing.

This work could be one of the reasons why a number of advice firms have found themselves having to stop carrying out pension transfers.

If this ends up going wrong the compensation fees could end up dwarfing football transfer values.

3) Could do better

This week the Financial Conduct Authority had its performance appraised by the chief executive of Aviva’s UK life business.

Andy Briggs said the regulator’s Financial Advice Market Review was “not good enough”.

He said the vast majority of people are making decisions without advice or guidance and will end up with poor outcomes.

These comments were echoed by the chief executive of Hargreaves Lansdown, Christopher Hill, who said the entire process needed to be “reset”.

4) Numbers game

If advisers were worried about robots replacing them, now they have to worry about data.

At least that is what the chief investment officer of Nutmeg said this week.