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M&G buys Ascentric & fake FCA emails: the week in news

M&G buys Ascentric & fake FCA emails: the week in news

The row over Boris Johnson’s top aide flouting the lockdown rules he helped create dominated the news this week, with both the public and Tory MPs split on whether Dominic Cummings should resign.

But there was better news for advisers when clarity was brought to the future of Ascentric as M&G announced it would snap up the adviser platform, while the regulator allowed a workaround on CPD requirements. It's time for the week in news.

1 Going, going, gone

Fund house M&G announced this week it is set to buy Ascentric from Royal London, a move which will bring £14bn of assets, 1,500 advisers and 90,000 clients to the asset manager.

Advisers and onlookers have been keen to find out who would buy the adviser platform since it was revealed it was up for sale in February this year. The fact M&G is the buyer has gone down well, with platform experts agreeing the buyout was “good news” for all involved. M&G's share price is up 12 per cent since.

M&G has outlined the future of the platform, revealing there would be no need for replatforming and that PruFund, M&G’s popular with-profits fund, would remain separate from Ascentric.

2 PII problems

The growing issues surrounding professional indemnity insurance and defined benefit transfer advice were highlighted this week when an adviser spoke out about his soaring premiums.

Steve Carlson, chartered financial planner at Carlson Wealth Management, has completed a measly three DB transfers in his career — but has seen his insurance jump 430 per cent because of it.

He argued the dwindling number of advisers able to find cover for DB advice was set to cause “clear client detriment” as more advisers were forced out the market, an issue today flagged in a complaints commissioner case where a consumer blamed the FCA for a lack of available DB advice.

3 Scam city

FTAdviser told the tale of a key worker who became the victim of a £10,000 push scam — but was told by HSBC she may never get her money back.

The Yorkshire-based woman was targeted by the scammers just days after a bond had matured. She was phoned from a number the same as the one on the back of her HSBC debit card and told to transfer money into a separate account to protect it from someone “trying to access her account in Aberdeen”.

Figures released this week found 5.2m people in the UK have fallen victim to, or knew someone had been duped by, a financial scam since the beginning of the virus outbreak.

4 Fake FCA

In more scam news, warning bells were sounded when financial advisers were targeted by a fake email purporting to be from the City watchdog.

The email looked like a due diligence request from the FCA and asked advisers to review and answer questions in an “attached questionnaire” that did not exist. It is likely the scammers hoped advisers would phone the number on the email address to explain there was an attachment missing.