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Pension transfers and ombudsman cases: the week in news

Pension transfers and ombudsman cases: the week in news

During this festive season of peace and goodwill to all men (and women) it is good to see our politicians are leading by example.

But for those of you who are concerned about the prospect of spending more time with your families, perhaps a vote of no confidence is the answer. But in the meantime, here's the week in news.

1) All I want for Christmas is...a suitable pension transfer

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The fall-out from the Financial Conduct Authority's work on defined benefit transfers is continuing to cause some distinctly unfestive spirit.

The regulator's warning about the suitability of DB transfers was "reckless and wholly disproportionate", the Personal Finance Society’s chief executive warned this week.

Last week, the regulator said it was "very concerned" too many firms were not consistently providing suitable advice on pension transfers, after finding less than 50 per cent of the advice it had reviewed was suitable - but Keith Richards said the FCA's warning was based on an insufficiently large sample size.

Meanwhile Rory Percival, a former technical specialist at the FCA, said it was "entirely fair" that the regulator was frustrated with financial advisers given the long list of issues it continues to find with DB transfers.

2) Christmas number one

While the wider public sits on the edge of its seat to find out who will score the Christmas number one, here at FTAdviser we can already provide you with this information.

Well, at least we can tell you the best performing fund anyway.

The £1.9bn Baillie Gifford American fund was the best performer, having returned 26 per cent, followed by the £1.7bn Polar Capital Healthcare Opportunities, which returned 21.7 per cent.

At the other end of the spectrum, the worst performing fund, across all asset classes, was the £211m Jupiter India Select, which lost 28.8 per cent, while the £848m Jupiter India fund, the third worst performer, lost 25 per cent.

3) Taking Liberties

The Financial Ombudsman Service has held Sipp provider Liberty accountable for losses of £36,200 after it allegedly failed to carry out due diligence on unregulated investments in its Sipps.

In three preliminary decisions handed down in recent weeks the ombudsman found Liberty had breached its duty of care to clients because it ought to have known that the investments were high risk and could cause consumer detriment.

The three individuals had invested a total of £36,200 into the Ethical Forestry scheme through Liberty Sipp. 

The investments were made on the advice of introducer Avacade.

4) Do they know it's Christmas?

Perhaps at Scottish Widows they don't, because the provider only agreed to return funds feared lost after an adviser's tireless battle with the company.

Financial adviser Gary Friel, who runs Kent Insurance Services in Gillingham, said he and his client were the victims of a "man in the middle" fraud, whereby Mr Friel’s email account was hacked, and an email sent from there to Scottish Widows requesting to withdraw £35,000 on behalf of a client.