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Profits and mergers: the week in news

Profits and mergers: the week in news

With the end of the world looking ever more imminent, maybe we should be contacting our loved ones and trying to comfort them.

Or, as one press release received by FTAdviser this week, we could invest in property outside a nuclear missile impact zone. But maybe the easiest thing to do is to comfort ourselves with the week in news.

1) Transfer activity reaches fever pitch

Talk about transfers has continued to escalate – and we’re not talking about spending £200m on Neymar.

This week Origo’s research revealed that defined benefit transfer bottlenecks are being caused by unprecedented high volumes and processing issues.

The white paper highlighted how the transfer process is suffering from a disconnect between what data pension administrators consider is needed for a transfer value analysis system (TVAS) report and the information IFA firms are requesting in order to advise clients.

Companies had seen increases in requests for cash equivalent transfer values (CETVs) of up to 135 per cent and in actual pension transfers of up to 100 per cent.

And football managers think they’re busy right now…

2) Regulator on the charge

The Financial Conduct Authority has obviously not been taking a summer holiday.

Rather than hitting the beach, its regulators have been contacting advice firms asking them about their ongoing charges as part of its work on disclosure.

The FCA is understood to be asking firms about how their ongoing services and charges work.

Earlier this year the FCA told FTAdviser it would be targeting smaller advice firms as part of its follow-up work on the suitability review.

Published in May, the suitability review found the largest firms, and those which are restricted and network members, were more likely to provide suitable advice and to do acceptable disclosure.

3) Two providers, both alike in dignity…

Shakespeare might have had the better stories, but that doesn’t mean the pensions industry can’t have its fair share of bad blood.

Pensionbee, a fintech pension provider, has complained to traditional life company Aegon about its slow transfer processes

The newer kid on the block has claimed its older rival is employing systems which are directly targeting it, and making life more difficult for Pensionbee customers.

Both companies are members of Origo Options - a service which facilitates pension transfers - but since June, Aegon has refused to transfer to Pensionbee using the service.

Aegon has countered that it has treated all transfers from Pensionbee in line with its due diligence processes.

It looks like a duel might be the only way to end this.

4) Profits. Warning!

We’ve had yet more results this week, so those who are allergic to company accounts should look away now.

Standard Life was hit by net outflows of £3.7bn during the first half of 2017, driven by money being pulled from its mammoth Global Absolute Return Strategies fund.

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