Thousands of DB transfers carried out by firms that lost permissions

Hannah Godfrey reports...

Advice firms that lost their defined benefit (DB) transfer permissions carried out thousands of transfers before regulatory intervention, it has emerged.

Since 2015, some 4,659 transfers were arranged by 19 advice firms that have since surrendered their transfer permissions, or had them removed by the regulator, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) told the Financial Times.

The data was revealed just weeks after the FCA issued a stark warning to firms operating in the DB transfer arena, when it said it “would not hesitate” to use its investigatory powers if it identified cases of misconduct.

Former FCA board member Mick McAteer told the FT: “The FCA should be requiring these businesses, where it had the most serious concerns, to write to customers to alert them about the FCA’s involvement.

“This is such a serious issue because the potential impact on an individual of being wrongly advised to transfer their DB pension is much greater than being mis-sold payment protection insurance or an endowment, because of the large sums.”

The FCA told the paper it would take “appropriate steps” where it found customers had suffered harm. The watchdog recently collected data from every single firm with the necessary permissions to carry out DB pension transfers.