DB Pensions To Cause Concern For FSCS For Sometime To Come.

The defined benefit market could continue to be cause for concern in the market, especially with regards to the Financial Services Compensation Scheme levy, according to a regulatory compliance expert at Konexo.

Speaking to FTAdviser yesterday (September 21), Simon Collins, managing director of financial services regulatory compliance at Konexo, outlined his views around some of the work the regulator is doing.

Last week, the FCA said it was targeting a 10 per cent year-on-year reduction in the life distribution & investment intermediation and investment provision funding classes over five years, from 2025 to 2030.

However, the regulator later backtracked, saying the 10 per cent target had been published in error and would be reviewed before the end of the year.

The FCA said the regulator was looking to stabilise the FSCS levy with respect to historic cases, which was why reductions were not going to happen until 2025.

Collins agreed legacy issues would rumble on for quite some time: “The whole DB area is one that I think will continue to cause problems for essentially the market and then FSCS. You look at the tail of that and I think that is probably why they're trying to be realistic and not setting themselves up for a fail by actually trying to plan this forward.

“There does seem to be increased levels of interaction between the various bodies because each one will bring a slightly different dynamic to a conduct problem area, but I do think there's still a fair tail of DB stuff, there could well be still a tail on some of these esoteric products that are out there.”

'An FCA that will feel different'

In July, the FCA published its business plan and said over the next year and a half, it will change to become more innovative, adaptive and assertive, prioritising its work to clamp down on scams and improve pensions advice.

The City watchdog boss Nikhil Rathi said at the time the FCA will look and feel even more different, “one that operates differently, partners differently, and communicates differently".

Collins said the LCF scandal had shown that even after the amount of regulation coming out of the regulator, there were still people out there setting up schemes in unregulated areas or that were not regulated appropriately, and there was a "high pressure approach to this" coming from the FCA.

Collins explained that reading between the lines, the regulator was trying to educate individuals on the concept that if it looks too good, it probably is.

He said the whole purpose of the conduct rules and the senior manager's certificate regime was to try to change behaviour.

“Whether or not they'll make the progress as quickly as they would like to make will be the challenge, he said.

“Simply because of resources - do they have enough resources to be able to supervise these particular firms who go under the radar sometimes for some significant amount of time? It's those people acting below the radar that only get picked up when something's crystallised.”

He added: “What Rathi was saying in his speech around the business plan was very much trying to be more proactive, trying to actually spot the market issues prior to them crystallising through intelligence and I think that that's a big challenge.

"[The FCA] is introducing some new thoughts, which is interesting, and the very fact that they're going to be more regional by the looks of it, with hubs in Leeds, Cardiff, Belfast.

"Having those sort of regional areas that are a bit more fleet of foot ... is a very different model to perhaps what's existed before.

“They've made a number of senior appointments with a lot of focus on data, information so they're beefing up their ability. "

Collins added: “In 12 months' time we can see how things move forward and whether or not more people have been prevented from phoenixing or whether there have been less schemes that have actually lost money for people because they've got them early.”

NOTE: We claim no right or title to this article which appears in FT Adviser dot com. Author Sonia Rach.

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