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Data breach and platform problems: the week in news

Data breach and platform problems: the week in news

The upcoming general election continued to dominate headlines this week as politicians pledged a windfall for the NHS, some tax shake-ups and free broadband for all.

Closer to home, the industry didn't fare too well with threats of extra admin charges for advisers and a provider caught in a data breach. It's time for the week in news.

1) Pay for paper

The Financial Conduct Authority warned this week it could introduce extra admin charges for advisers who continued to request paper copies of regulatory invoices.

Having previously promoted the environmental advantages of online invoicing, the City watchdog warned the additional costs of issuing paper invoices to companies which did not use the portal were currently being paid by other fee-paying advisers.

It proposed a £50 annual charge to the 8 per cent of fee-payers who still used paper invoiced.

2) Data debacle

Scottish Widows was accused of breaching data protection rules after it sent sensitive client information to the wrong policy holder by accident.

Last month a Scottish Widow's client received a letter which included details — such as the start date, the assets held and the name, age, and occupation — about another client's pension pot.

The firm admitted the letter was sent out in error and has compensated the client who received the incorrect information £50.

3) Grow up, Hargreaves

A fund manager with £12m invested in Hargreaves Lansdown said the company needed to "grow up" in the aftermath of the Woodford scandal.

Milena Mileva, manager of the £272m Baillie Gifford UK Growth Fund, said she backed Hargreaves as a long-term investment but thought the company needed to recognise its responsibilities as a 'big firm' and 'grow up' with how it dealt with issues like its Wealth 50 buylist.

She thought Hargreaves had handled the backlash from its relationship with former-star fund manager Neil Woodford as well as she could have hoped but acknowledged there had been an "error in judgement".

4) Tenet troubles

Adviser network Tenet hit back after advisers claimed they had not received adequate training following a back office switch.

Problems for advisers, such as late and confusing commission payments, started in September after Tenet switched its system to Intelligent Office.

Several advisers said they had not received adequate training ahead of the switch, meaning they could not use it properly, but Tenet refuted the claims, saying the network provided more training than the basic recommendation and included face-to-face, online and e-learning training.

5)Platforms face problems

Data showed advised platforms were facing difficult times as uncertainty over Brexit, the slow down of the DB transfer market and the Woodford saga chipped away at sales.

Lang Cat figures showed net sales had dropped 39 per cent on advised channels, despite the fact total assets under administration had grown 3 per cent.

Mark Polson, principal at the Lang Cat, said: "As is becoming the norm for the advised platform market, the headline AUA numbers don’t look too bad, but the sales figures tell a different story."