FCA investigating 30 advisers over 'poor' advice

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) is currently investigating 30 individuals and firms for poor transfer advice, it has been revealed.

Responding to a letter from MP for Blaenau Nick Smith, Economic Secretary to the Treasury John Glen said that the regulator is currently investigating the firms for bad advice and scams, adding that the FCA has taken action against 15 business and individuals for “pensions misconduct” over the past five years.

Smith wrote to Glen to ask what action the FCA was taking against rouge advisers and has called for police in South Wales to investigate the advisers who took advantage of the restructuring of the British Steel Pensions Scheme (BSPS).

Smith said: “The FCA needed to be far more aggressive in rooting out rogue advisers and protecting pensions. Fifteen enforcement actions in five years just isn’t good enough.

“The fact that there are now 30 investigations under way is a sign that the FCA are starting to improve their game and that is long overdue.

“But this now needs to be properly seen through; rogue advisers have to face serious penalties – up to and including criminal prosecution when there is sufficient evidence.”

He added that Glen’s response raises more questions than answers.

In March, the FCA urged BSPS members to take action if they believe the advice to transfer out of the scheme was unsuitable.

Any member who was unsure if the guidance that they received was suitable should first make the complaint to the firm that provided the advice.

If, after eight weeks, the complainant does not receive a reply from the firm or does not agree with the response that they received, the FCA has encouraged them to contact the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) to refer the complaint to them.

The Financial Services Compensation Scheme increased its levy by £43m to £240m on the previous nine months, largely due to the unsuitable advice to transfer out of schemes such as BSPS.

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