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Quilter responds to FCA pension transfer announcements

5 June 2020

Quilter plc (the Company) supports the announcement published today by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) to address weaknesses in the defined benefit (DB) transfer market, which will help promote better, industry-wide, customer outcomes. The proposal to ban contingent charging coupled with the introduction of an initial abridged advice process is a welcome move, which will provide clarity around charging, while ensuring DB transfer advice is focused on the cases where such advice is more likely to be suitable.  Abridged advice is a similar concept to the Feasibility Service already undertaken by Quilter Group companies at the outset of a DB transfer advice process.

As the Company announced on 11 March 2020 as part of its preliminary results for the year ended 31 December 2019, a number of complaints have been received in relation to historic advice provided by its subsidiary, Lighthouse Advisory Services Limited (Lighthouse), to customers in relation to transfers out of the British Steel defined benefit pension scheme.  These complaints relate to advice given by Lighthouse prior to the acquisition of Lighthouse Group plc (Lighthouse’s parent company) by the Company’s subsidiary, Quilter Financial Planning Limited, in June 2019 (the Lighthouse Acquisition).   

The Company notes that the FCA’s statement referred to 30 enforcement investigations arising from concerns identified in the course of its programme of DB transfer work.  The Company confirms that the FCA has commenced such an investigation into Lighthouse.  The FCA is investigating whether Lighthouse has breached certain FCA requirements in connection with advising on and arranging DB pension transfers in the period from 1 April 2015 to 30 April 2019.  The Company also confirms that the FCA has also required Lighthouse to appoint a skilled person under section 166 of the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 to conduct a review of certain DB pension transfers advised on or arranged by Lighthouse in the period from 1 April 2015 to 27 January 2020.

The FCA investigation and skilled person review only relates to Lighthouse.   The period of the FCA’s investigation covers the period before the Lighthouse Acquisition and the period of the skilled person review covers the period before the Lighthouse Acquisition up until 27 January 2020.  That is the date on which Lighthouse's internal processes in relation to DB pension transfers were fully replaced by those of Quilter Group following completion of the Lighthouse Acquisition. 

The Company and its subsidiaries (including Lighthouse) are fully co-operating with the FCA in relation to the investigation and skilled person review and the Company will update the market on the outcome of the investigation and review in due course.

Paul Feeney, CEO of Quilter, comments:

“Defined benefit pension transfer advice can be the single most important piece of advice that clients can receive and so it is important that regulation around it is clear and the FCA’s package of reforms is necessary.  Quilter is committed to good customer outcomes and we will look to implement any necessary changes to our current process.

“Prior to our acquisition of Lighthouse in June last year, this business advised around approximately 300 British Steel pension scheme members to undertake a defined benefit transfer. Following the acquisition and an internal review of these cases, and complaints made prior to June 2017, concerns were raised about some of the advice given.

“We are now working with the FCA on this review into Lighthouse advice and our priority remains to do the right thing for our customers.”

For more information contact

Tim Skelton-Smith
023 8091 6998 
078 2414 5076 
tim.skelton-smith@quilter.com

Kathleen Gallagher
023 8072 6293 
079 9000 4932
kathleen.gallagher@quilter.com

Notes to Editors:

Quilter plc is a leading wealth management business in the UK and internationally, helping to create prosperity for the generations of today and tomorrow.

Quilter plc oversees £95.3 billion in customer investments (as at 31 March 2020).

It has an adviser and customer offering spanning: financial advice; investment platforms; multi-asset investment solutions; and discretionary fund management.

The business is comprised of two segments: Advice and Wealth Management and Wealth Platforms.

Advice and Wealth Management encompasses the financial advice business, Quilter Financial Planning; the discretionary fund management business, Quilter Cheviot; and Quilter Investors, the Multi-asset investment solutions business.

Wealth Platforms includes Old Mutual Wealth UK platform and Quilter International, including AAM Advisory in Singapore.

The Old Mutual Wealth Heritage life assurance business was acquired by ReAssure Group Plc on 2 January 2020.

Since its IPO in June 2018, Quilter plc’s businesses have progressively rebranded to Quilter, as follows: 

  • Quilter Financial Planning (previously Intrinsic)
  • Quilter Private Client Advisers (previously Old Mutual Wealth Private Client Advisers)
  • Quilter Financial Advisers (previously Charles Derby Group)
  • Quilter Financial Adviser School
  • Quilter Cheviot
  • Quilter Investors
  • Old Mutual Wealth (becoming Quilter Investment Platform in 2020)
  • Quilter International (previously Old Mutual International)

This press release is for journalists only and should not be relied upon by financial advisers or customers.

Please remember that past performance is not a guide to future performance. The value of investments and the income from them can go down as well as up and investors may not get back any of the amount originally invested. Exchange rate changes may cause the value of overseas investments to rise or fall.

This communication is issued by Quilter plc.  Registered office: Millennium Bridge House, 2 Lambeth Hill, London EC4V 4AJ, United Kingdom. Registered number: 6404270.  Registered in England.