Pensions  

Waspi women stung and busy bee advisers: week in news

Waspi women stung and busy bee advisers: week in news

It has been a golden week for athletes Katarina Johnson-Thompson and Dina Asher-Smith who made history winning at the World Athletics Championships in Doha but closer to home a group of women were dealt a sting when a challenge brought by Waspi campaigners was dismissed at the High Court on Thursday. 

Meanwhile advisers could be looking at a busy time ahead after receiving an extensive to-do list at the Chartered Institute for Securities & Investment's annual financial planning conference this week. It's time for the week in news. 

1 Waspi challenge dismissed but MPs back the hive 

On Thursday (October 3) the High Court rejected claims the increase in the state pension age affecting women born in the 1950s was discriminatory, serving a blow to groups The Women Against State Pension Inequality and Backto60 which have long campaigned for compensation for those affected. 

Lord Justice Irwin and Justice Whipple dismissed claims of age discrimination, sex discrimination and lack of notice, finding the "government engaged in extensive consultation with a wide spread of interested bodies before the legislation was introduced". 

Plans to increase the state pension age were first announced in the Pension Act 1995 but these changes were accelerated as part of the Pension Act 2011.

The judges said they were saddened by the stories contained in the claimants' evidence, but said the court’s role was limited, since “there was no basis for concluding that the policy choices reflected in legislation were not open to government".

In response to the rulings a group of MPs pledged to continue fighting for the women affected, promising they would continue to use all means available – including private members’ bills – "to seek justice for all the women affected". 

2 FCA poised to extend DB transfer review 

The regulator confirmed it would consider extending its review of the defined benefit transfer market to include a "wider range" of firms on Thursday (October 3), vowing to continue its work in the sector until advice had reached an "acceptable standard".

Deb Jones, director of supervision, life insurance and financial advice at the FCA, said depending on the outcome of the regulator's assessments of firms this year it would consider extending its 2020 assessments to include a "wider range" of firms. 

The defined benefit transfer market has come under increased scrutiny by the FCA in the past years, with the City-watchdog warning too much of the advice on transfers it had seen was "still not of an acceptable standard".

3 Advisers warned they are still not customer focused 

Advisers were told by the regulator's former technical specialist Rory Percival they "leave a lot to be desired" when addressing services and charges in initial disclosure documents.

Speaking at the Chartered Institute for Securities & Investment's annual financial planning conference on October 1 Mr Percival said, despite his 30 years in the sector, he was yet to meet a single firm which is "genuinely, across the board, client centric". 

Mr Percival, who worked at the FCA for ten years and now runs Rory Percival Training and Consultancy, said the regulator had regularly set out its expectations of advisers to keep clients at the centre of the decision making process but warned the industry was still not living up to them.