Marketwide FCA DB transfer questionnaire hits Scottish adviser inboxes

Hannah Godfrey reports...

The Financial Conduct Authority’s (FCA) long-anticipated defined benefit (DB) transfer questionnaire has been sent to several firms in Scotland, RP’s sister magazine Professional Adviser can reveal.

The questionnaire, which marks the final phase of the FCA’s multi-firm supervision exercise on DB transfers, has asked firms for pension transfer activity data from April 2015 to September 2018.

A freedom of information (FOI) request sent by Professional Adviser to the regulator earlier this year revealed some 3,026 firms are in scope to receive the questionnaire. Every single advice firm with pension transfer permissions will eventually receive the survey.

PA’s FOI request revealed the regulator would initially send a pilot to a small sample of advice businesses before sending it to the remaining firms in its market-wide exercise.

After receiving the questionnaire, firms will have a couple of weeks to complete the survey and send it back to the FCA. Advisers will receive the questions via email, which will need to be filled out online.

Some example questions included requests for information on facilitating transfers of insistent clients, how many pension transfer clients signed up to an ongoing service post-transfer, and how many pension transfer specialists are at the firm.

‘Data-gathering exercise’

An informed source told Professional Adviser firms should check their junk emails because the FCA was unlikely to offer an extension to complete the work for failing to open the email.

They described the questionnaire as a “data-gathering exercise” and that it was shorter than the extensive eight-page survey sent out to some 45 firms by the regulator last December, which contained more than 50 questions designed to probe the firms for information on their pension transfer processes.

The source was unaware of any firms outside of Scotland that have received the questionnaire yet.

The FCA has been contacted for comment.