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AJ Bell’s chief response to FCA decision

News Team, 05/06/2020

Financial advisers will be banned from charging clients only when a defined benefit (DB) transfer goes ahead from 1 October 2020. The rules are designed to protect the most vulnerable – including those in ill-health and facing financial hardship.

Andy Bell, chief executive at AJ Bell, responded: “Paraphrasing Plato, Good advisers do not need rules to tell them to act responsibly, while unscrupulous advisers will find a way around the rules.

“The FCA’s focus should be on making sure advice is tailored to the pension saver and delivered in a form that they can understand. Banning contingent charging swaps one set of problems for another and doesn’t get to the heart of the issue. Most importantly, DB transfers will now become an option only available to the wealthy.

“COVID-19 will see the failure of businesses, which in turn will weaken or bring down final salary pension schemes. Members of defined benefit schemes, no matter how wealthy, should be allowed to access their right to transfer.

“DB advice rules need a root and branch overhaul. Too much of the advice process involves trying to work out whether the transfer value on offer is good value for money. Frankly, this is a waste of time as there is an obligation on the ceding scheme actuary to certify that the transfer value fairly reflects the defined benefits being given up.”

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