Financial Conduct Authority  

FCA slammed and DB guidance: the week in news

FCA slammed and DB guidance: the week in news

The news could have been stuck on repeat this week as Brexit, Trump and Boris Johnson continued to dominate the headlines.

Similarly, in the financial world, the Woodford woes continued and the regulator was criticised. It’s time for the week in news.

1 Claims squared

This week, the Personal Finance Society warned advisers they could end up with multiple claims against them if they outsourced their services to discretionary investment managers and did not follow certain steps.

According to the PFS, if advisers only have a standard advisory agreement between themselves and their clients, they are unlikely to have the level of authority required to allow a DIM to act on the client’s behalf.

This could lead to the adviser receiving claims from both sides — the client could claim as well as the DIM if the adviser acts outside their authority by signing an agreement they did not have the legal power to do.

The professional body warned advisers they could be "inadvertently" leaving themselves and clients "potentially exposed" through this lack of understanding.

2 A (sixth) week of Woodford woes

Investors caught in the embattled Woodford fund will now be able to switch their assets from one platform to another as Woodford Investment Management caved to investor pressure.

The authorised corporate director of the Woodford Equity Income Fund, Link Fund Solutions, announced that transfers across all share classes, but not share conversions, would now be allowed.

The fund has hit the headlines the past couple of months after it was suspended following a sustained period of outflows. 

This week’s problem centred on the fact that Hargreaves Lansdown clients hold the Z share class offered exclusively to them whereas all other platforms hold the C share class.

Initially, investors had been unable to transfer their account but after Interactive Investor wrote to Nicky Morgan, chairwoman of the Treasury select committee, Link now allows clients to transfer between share classes.

3 Rules are made to be… un-explainable

A frustrated adviser criticised the FCA after the regulator told him to seek legal advice to establish what its own rules were.

Neil Liversidge, managing director of West Riding Personal Finance Solutions, had been chasing the FCA for months to clarify a query he had about his permissions to advise on real estate investment trusts.

When the regulator replied, it told him to seek "independent legal and compliance guidance" due to the "complexity" of his query.

Mr Liversidge told FTAdviser: "Imagine if the Department of Transport produced a Highway Code of such complexity that even it could not tell drivers what amounted or did not amount to safe and legal driving.”

He still does not know the answer to his question.

4 Excuse me, officer

The defined benefit transfer sector may get an extra level of protection after the pensions minister said he wanted the police to be notified every time a transfer was made.