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FCA takes action on 3rd party lead generation by restricting the authorisation of 3 financial advice firms: No more pension transfers!

FCA Takes Action

The Financial Conduct Authority has told 3 unrelated IFA businesses to stop pension switching for clients and to hold off on the disposal of their assets “without the prior consent of the FCA”.

Although 2 of the 3 firms are now in administration anyway, this means that the firms will no longer be able to transfer client’s pensions into new schemes, including the popularly sold (and often mis-sold) SIPP schemes, with speculation rife within the industry as to why the FCA may have implemented these rules.

Bank House Investment Management, Financial Page and Henderson Carter Associates Limited were also told to restrict their professional dealings with unregulated marketing and lead-generation firm, Hennessy Jones. It is unclear whether mounting pressure from MPs for the FCA to get a grip on unregulated introducers has influenced the regulator’s decision, with marketing companies not technically under the FCA’s remit.

As reported in CityWire, the FCA’s note on the topic gave reference to “serious concerns to the adequacy of the firm’s pension advice”, indicating but not confirming that mis-selling may have possibly taken place.

Only Bank House remains in operation (08.02.18 UPDATE: Bank House now no-longer has the authorisation to carry out regulated activity), with Financial Page no longer able to send client business into Non-Standard Assets such as the AIGO fund.

Unregulated Introducers

The role of unregulated introducers has been a hot topic for both the regulator and industry commentators in the last few years. It is generally agreed that the high-pressure sales tactics and high-commission bonus structures supposedly employed at some marketing firms may have contributed to a rise in pension mis-selling over the last few years, especially in the not-so-niche field of unregulated SIPP investments.

But by their very nature, these marketing firms do not come under the direct influence of the Financial Conduct Authority; not being regulated to provide financial advice. But what the FCA appears to have done is restrict the sphere of operation of one marketing firm by stopping their customers (regulated) from dealing with them.

Could this spell out the way for the regulator’s war on unregulated introducers?

What to do if you’ve dealt with Henderson Carter/Bank House/Financial Page.

Of course, that’s up to you, but with the focus of the FCA’s notes appearing to centre around SIPPs, then perhaps it’s time to check your advice to ensure that it was suitable.

Getting in touch with Spencer Churchill Claims Advice could be a good first step – we’re pension mis-selling case specialists and can help assess whether you’ve been mis-sold. Your initial assessment is free, and if you decide to pursue a case for mis-selling, you can do that on a no upfront costs basis with Spencer Churchill Claims Advice.

Please note: you have an initial cooling off period of 14 days, if you cancel outside of this period you may be charged for the work carried out and if we have already submitted your claim, which results in an offer of compensation subsequently being made, we will charge our full fee as per our T&Cs – our fee is 20% + VAT – a total of 24%. 

Alex Waters
19 September 2016
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