FCA cites pension freedoms as a driver of consumer harm

Hannah Godfrey reports...

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has cited the 2015 pension freedoms as one example of a driver of consumer harm.

In its latest business plan, the regulator outlined its key priorities for the upcoming years, one of which was to prioritise end outcomes for consumers, markets and firms.

The FCA said there was “significant risk of harm” in the long-term savings market, in part due to consumers being given additional responsibility for “complex investment decisions” thanks to the pension freedoms in 2015, which shifted consumers to defined contribution pensions.

According to the FCA, consumers who fall victim to a pension scam lose an average of 22 years’ savings, typically three times their annual earnings.

The regulator said it would continue to focus on assessing suitability of defined benefit to defined contribution transfer advice and start assessing suitability of decumulation advice.

It added it will continue assessing developments in the financial support market, through its Retail Distribution Review and Financial Advice Market Review evaluation, to make sure they are meeting consumer needs.