Your Industry  

DB trouble & changing charges: the week in news

DB trouble & changing charges: the week in news

Some Britons are preparing for a weekend of leisure as pubs, restaurants, museums and art galleries are all set to reopen their doors tomorrow after more than three months of lockdown.

But the coronavirus crisis was still causing problems in the financial world this week, as the City watchdog postponed the implementation of the new Senior Managers rules and steelworkers were hit with a fresh financial blow.

Elsewhere, Schroders Personal Wealth recruited ex-Openwork chief Mark Duckworth as its new chief executive and an adviser was in hot water over defined benefit advice. It’s time for the week in news.

1 DB advice bites IFA

An advice firm was forced to cough up after they mistakenly said a client wanted to take high risk investments when pushing forward with a DB transfer.

The Financial Ombudsman Service sided with the client after finding the adviser, in the suitability report, had incorrectly assessed that the client was prepared to take a high level of risk.

Ombudsman Keith Taylor said it was not clear how this assessment was reached or how it could be justified, so ruled the advice given to Mr L was unsuitable and was not in his best interest.

2 Steelworker sorrow

In further pensions news, steelworkers who were denied a buddy transfer when they left the British Steel Pension Scheme have been hit with another financial blow.

FTAdviser revealed that members who were denied the transfer, which would have allowed them to retain their protected pension age of between 50 and 54-years-old, could now face years of financial uncertainty if made redundant during the pandemic and its economic fallout.

One steelworker had been made redundant in March but was unable to access his pension for three years having been refused the buddy transfer.

3 Courts side with watchdog

The regulator had another good week and had the courts on its side in a trial against two unregulated introducers and their managers over the transfer of £92m in pension assets.

In the long-running case, the court found the activities of unregulated firms Avacade Limited and Alexandra Associates were unlawful as they had advised on investments, made unapproved financial promotions and made false or misleading statements.

The FCA is now seeking orders from the High Court banning Alexandra Associates, the Lummis's and Mr Fox from engaging in unauthorised activities in the UK.

4 Regulation on hold

The FCA exercised leniency this week when it announced certification requirements under the Senior Managers and Certification Regime had been delayed by four months in a bid to alleviate pressure from firms "significantly affected" by the coronavirus pandemic.

The original rules would have seen advice firms complete their first “fitness and propriety” assessment of certified persons by December 9 - but this deadline has now been extended to March 31, 2021.

But the watchdog warned firms “should not wait to remove staff who are not fit and proper from certified roles”.

5 Changing charges

Research published this week showed shifts in how advisers charge their clients, with Nucleus’s 2020 Census finding that less than half of advice firms now use a percentage of assets fee model for all of their clients.