On 13 December 2019, the FCA published Policy Statement 19/29: Making transfers simpler – feedback to CP19/12 and final rules (PS19/29). PS19/29 is applicable to: platform service providers, fund managers and their service providers, financial advisers and consumers of platform services and consumer organisations.
In PS19/29 the FCA summarises the feedback it received on Consultation Paper 19/12: Consultation on Investment Platforms Market Study remedies (CP19/12), an earlier consultation on rule changes that sought to make it easier for consumers to transfer their assets from one platform to another. The consultation was part of a wider package of remedies from the FCA’s Investment Platforms Market Study, which found that competition in this market was limited by the barriers facing consumers when they try to switch platforms. In PS19/29 the FCA sets out its final policy position, taking into account the feedback received. It also contains the final rules that implement the policy decisions, with the aim of improving competition between platforms.
The new rules in PS19/29 are designed to introduce requirements for platforms to:
- offer consumers the choice to transfer units in investment funds that are common to both platforms via an in-specie transfer;
- request a conversion of unit classes, where this is necessary to enable an in-specie transfer to take place; and
- ensure that consumers moving onto a new platform are given an option to convert to discounted units, where these are available for them to invest in.
The FCA’s intention behind the new rules in PS19/29 is to complement the existing rules on transfers and re-registration. The rules will also complement the industry initiatives that aim to make it easier for consumers to move their assets from one platform to another.
The new rules come into force on 31 July 2020.
For exit fees, the FCA is considering responses to the discussion questions in CP19/12 and intend to issue a formal consultation in Q1 2020.