TR14/12 - Enhanced transfer value pension transfers

This report summarises the findings of our thematic research into suitability of bulk pension transfer advice provided by financial advisers where employers offered an enhancement to the transfer value (ETV). It is not general guidance on the operation of our rules.

Who should read this paper?

This review is primarily aimed at financial advisers who provide ETV pension transfer advice and their senior management. Our findings will also be of interest to financial advisers who provide any pension transfer advice to consumers who are defined benefit (DB) pension scheme members, and to pension trustees, and employers with DB schemes.

What was the scope of the review?

We focussed our attention on suitability of bulk pension transfer advice provided by financial advisers where employers offered an enhancement to the transfer value available to incentivise current and former employees to leave their existing DB pension schemes. We considered the period from 2008 to 2012.

TR14/12 - Enhanced transfer value pension transfers

What did we find?

The overall results of the review are set out in the report.

The review showed a large variance in advice approaches and in the quality of advice provided by different financial advisers. The volume of transfers undertaken by different financial advisory firms also varied greatly.

The results from the review showed that some financial advisers appear to have provided ETV pension transfer advice without complying with the requirements and guidance in force at the time.

What are the next steps?

We will work with individual financial advisory firms to address unfair outcomes.

All financial advisers who provide pension transfer advice, including where ETVs are offered, should consider:

  • the FCA Handbook requirements
  • the relevant guidance
  • findings in this paper and the examples of good and poor practice

and review their arrangements accordingly.

We would expect firms to ensure that any pension transfer advice is sufficiently robust to meet our requirements.

Senior management of authorised financial advisory firms should satisfy themselves that their firms’ practices in relation to pension transfer advice deliver fair customer outcomes.

We recommend that consumers who have immediate concerns should contact the financial advisory firm that gave them the advice. This is a complex area of financial advice and there is not necessarily any immediate risk to many of the affected consumers; they received the pension transfer advice during rather than towards the end of their working lives and many of them will not yet have reached their intended retirement age.  That is why we intend to work with the financial advisory firms to identify affected consumers and address any concerns.

How can I find out more?

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