FCA publishes Coronavirus guidance for pension providers and DB pension transfer advisers

In its guidance, the FCA explains its deferral of the final suite of ROR remedies and sets out how firms should support consumers seeking to access to pension savings during the pandemic

08 April 2020

This article was written by Anna Davis. 

Delaying the implementation of PS19/21

The webpage explains that the FCA has extended the implementation of the final suite of Retirement Outcome Review remedies in PS19.21 (other than those already in force) by six months until 1 February 2021. However the FCA is keen to stress that this extended implementation period recognises the operational challenges of implementing new rules in the current circumstances; it does not relax any other regulatory requirements. Firms must continue to treat their customers fairly and act professionally and in their client’s best interests.

To help DC pension providers discuss pension options with their consumers, the FCA’s guidance:

  • highlights what providers are already required to do by the Retirement Risk Warning rules (COBS 19.7)
  • provides guidance on the risk factors which providers should be looking for under these rules, which are likely to be particularly prevalent in the current climate
  • supports providers in having meaningful conversations with their clients about the risks and implications of changing or accessing their pension in the current circumstances, without straying into advice
  • includes guidance for advisers providing advice on DB pension transfers (including that firms should not assume that changes in circumstances due to the Coronavirus make a transfer more likely to be suitable for individual clients, and firms should address any misconceptions clients may have as a result of the crisis).

The FCA has spoken with the FOS; the FOS has confirmed that, in deciding what is fair and reasonable in all the circumstances of a complaint, the FCA’s guidance would be one of the things that it will take into account if a customer brings a complaint about the firm’s communications.

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