FCA visits 11 SIPP firms following ‘Dear CEO’ letter

Hannah Godfrey reports...

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has visited 11 self-invested personal pension (SIPP) businesses since it warned firms of their duties in its ‘Dear CEO’ letter, RP’s sister title Professional Adviser can reveal.

A freedom of information request submitted by PA found 11 SIPP firms had been visited by the FCA.

The visits came after the regulator issued a ‘Dear CEO’ letter to the SIPP market following the legal decision against SIPP provider Berkeley Burke.

The High Court rejected Berkeley Burke’s claim against a 2014 Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) decision in which the FOS ruled the SIPP administrator had to compensate a client after it failed to carry out appropriate due diligence on their investment. Berkeley Burke has since been granted permission to appeal the judgement.

The ‘Dear CEO’ letter urged providers to notify the FCA immediately if the outcome of the case called into question their ability to meet financial commitments.

VREQs placed

Professional Adviser also understands an unspecified number of SIPP providers have had VREQs (Voluntary Requirements) placed upon them. This means those firms are now working with the regulator directly.

The FCA declined PA’s request to hand over information on the number of firms with VREQs placed upon them. The financial watchdog confirmed it held the information PA requested, but said it was unable to disclose it.

The FCA argued releasing the information could indirectly lead to the identification of some of the firms and individuals involved.