LEBC agrees to stop DB transfer work

Hannah Godfrey reports...

National IFA LEBC Group has stopped offering advice on defined benefit (DB) transfers after a review from the FCA, RP’s sister publication Professional Adviser can reveal.

PA has seen a note from the firm that revealed it has voluntarily agreed with the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) to alter its regulatory permissions, meaning it will stop offering regulated advice on DB transfers.

The note said the firm will not be tendering for new DB transfer projects, nor will it be able to complete advice on existing assignments.

A statement from LEBC CEO Jack McVitie, given to Professional Adviser, said: “National advice firm LEBC has agreed with the FCA to voluntarily alter its permissions to provide advice on transfer or conversion of safeguarded benefits within a pension arrangement.”

Defining Broken Transfers: FCA robustly defends its regulation of transfer advice

Meanwhile, an update from LEBC’s majority shareholder B.P. Marsh & Partners from this morning (2 September) offered more insight into the situation.

It said: “As part of its market-wide review of the DB transfer market, the FCA has undertaken a review of LEBC focused on the division of the business that provides DB pension transfer advice. Following this, LEBC has agreed voluntarily to cease the provision of DB pension transfer advice and projects, forthwith.

“In line with its successful long-term investment strategy, B.P. Marsh will continue to support LEBC as it evolves its business, which provides a range of financial solutions, for the benefit of its customers, staff and shareholders.”

Late last year, the FCA sent a questionnaire to all firms with pension transfer permissions. Following the results of that survey, which found 69% of scheme members who received advice on transfers were advised to move from their DB schemes, FCA director of supervision Megan Butler told PA the regulator was willing to close firms down if they were not “ready, willing and able” to improve their pension transfer processes.