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Adviser woes and headaches: the week in news

Adviser woes and headaches: the week in news

It has been a turbulent week, and not just in Parliament or Brussels. 

From new entrants to new complaints, the industry has been kept on its toes in the past five days.

It's time for the week in news.

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1) System failure

The UK's biggest adviser, St James’s Place Wealth, has been reported to the Financial Conduct Authority over failings in the handling of a client’s pension funds. 

The Pensions Ombudsman upheld a complaint against the firm in March having found that it lost units in a client's pension plan when it was transferred into a small self-administered scheme. 

The Ombudsman and adjudicator expressed concerns that SJP might have operated, and is still operating, "inadequate systems, which make it difficult or impossible for it and scheme members to identify any lost units".

2) Platform pressure

Advisers could face additional "onerous" workloads due to the way the majority of platforms are preparing to implement new transaction cost reporting rules.

The rules, which stem from the The Markets in Financial Instruments Directive II, require an adviser to show their client the total cost of investing, including a breakdown of individual transaction costs.  

But the majority of adviser platforms FTAdviser spoke to stated they would only be able to provide advisers with data for a set period of time, for instance a calendar year as defined by the platform, not a discrete time period chosen by the adviser.

This could make it difficult indeed when it comes to client meetings throughout the year.

3) Advice market he we come

Legal & General has said it plans to provide in-house financial advice on lifetime mortgages. 

The announcement came on the back of growing customer demand for L&G-branded advice for its lifetime mortgage products alongside a growth in the later life lending market.

Since 2015 L&G Home Finance has offered advice on such products through specialist adviser Key, operating under the brand name The Retirement Lending Advisers.

The firm has already appointed Grant Hughes to work with Sara McLeish, strategy and commercial director, to take the plans forward.

4) Cracking the DB whip

The City regulator is, apparently, making individual assessments of firms significantly involved in providing defined benefit transfer advice, economic secretary to the HM Treasury, John Glen, said this week. 

The comments were made in a debate in Parliament about pension transfers and the British Steel Pension Scheme debacle.

He said it was expected the FCA will go back and revisit a select group, mainly those with the biggest amount of business on their books.

The regulator did not confirm or deny its plans but has said in the past it will launch a dedicated working programme in this space.

5) Complaints trickle in

Replatforming issues continue to haunt Cofunds as complaints are now trickling through the Financial Ombudsman Service, with a particular emphasis on concerns over a lack of client support offered by the platform.