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Platform alterations and stingy pensioners: the week in news

Platform alterations and stingy pensioners: the week in news

Given the rate of turnover in the British government at the moment, it's probably a small group of people who haven't been approached to serve in the cabinet.

It's time for the week in news, but we had better get this one over and done with quickly in case someone else resigns.

1) Stand back from the platform edge

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For those of us of a tragic persuasion, the publication of the Financial Conduct Authority's platform market study interim report might have been the highlight of the week.

But the hefty 110-page document, which was published on Monday, certainly had plenty of talking points.

For example, the FCA has said it wants to address the "burdensome" task of switching platforms, which can take up to 15 hours of an advice firm's time.

It also revealed the FCA may force platforms to shift clients they suspect are no longer receiving advice to accounts which do not pay an ongoing fee to the adviser.

This is because the FCA found platforms do not actively monitor whether there has been activity on accounts, with more than 400,000 "orphaned" account holders who may be paying their adviser for a service they're no longer receiving.

The FCA also warned that some services offered by platforms, including white labelling and continued professional development, may fall into the category of inducements.

2) Long arm of the Lloyd

Richard Lloyd, who recently conducted a review into the Financial Ombudsman Service, appeared before the Treasury select committee this week to discuss his findings.

The former executive director of consumer rights organisation Which told the committee the reorganisation of the Fos was "high risk" and contributed to case handling problems at the service.

His 53-page review, published earlier this month, was launched after allegations made in the Channel 4 programme Dispatches that some decisions made by ombudsmen may have not been fair to consumers.

Mr Lloyd largely exonerated the Fos but he warned the service's strive for efficiency had begun to be seen by staff at the service as the "overriding priority" and he recommended that management shift the focus onto quality.

Mr Lloyd also said the issues were caused by the large number of payment protection insurance claims the Fos has faced, and he called on the FCA to do more to prevent mass numbers of complaints from ending up at the Fos.

For its part, the Fos denied that the restructuring of the organisation has been a failure and said the previous model was old and "very bureaucratic".

3) Nursing a hefty jail sentence

A nursing home boss, who preyed on vulnerable elderly people and lied about a financial adviser in order to get them sacked, was jailed this week.

David Barton, formerly known as Ramamurthie Dasaratha, was jailed for 21 years after the biggest fraud investigation ever undertaken by Merseyside Police.

The 63-year-old of Oxford Road, Birkdale, committed fraud worth millions of pounds at Barton Park Nursing Home in Southport.