The FCA has published a Dear CEO letter regarding retirement reforms and the guidance guarantee.
The FCA is responsible for setting, maintaining and monitoring the standards for organisations delivering guidance for Pension Wise (the UK Government’s new pension guidance service). Last year the FCA published Policy Statement 14/17: Retirement Reforms and the Guidance Guarantee, including feedback on CP14/11 which set out the standards for guidance providers and a package of rules for firms, specific to the pension changes. Along with the FCA’s existing rules and principles, the new requirements set out the framework for how the FCA expects firms to engage with customers to support the implementation of Pension Wise and provide consumer protection in the new regime.
However, the Dear CEO letter notes that firms have told the FCA that they are not clear how far they can, or should, go in respect of helping people who chose not to use Pension Wise to understand the implications of their decisions.
The FCA states in the Dear CEO letter that to assist firms it intends to seek approval from its Board for further steps to clarify what it expects firms to do. Subject to agreement with its Board, the FCA is minded that it is appropriate to bring these new rules into force on a temporary basis from 6 April 2015.
In addition to the further steps the FCA also notes in the Dear CEO letter that it has recently published finalised guidance on retail investment advice in Finalised Guidance 15/1: Clarifying the boundaries and exploring the barriers to market development.