Adviser firm Tideway was told to cease all pension transfer advice business from 3 July 2020, after first being visited by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) about its defined benefit (DB) transfer operations in 2017.
According to an update on the firm's Financial Services Register page, from 3 July Tideway has not been allowed to advise on conversion or transfer of pension benefits, nor complete any pipeline business related to pension transfers.
Additionally, the firm has been told it must not dispose of, deal with or diminish the value of any of its assets, nor dispose of, transfer or sell part of or all of its entire client bank without permission from the FCA.
A spokesperson confirmed Tideway is not providing DB transfer advice at the current time in the wake of increased regulatory concerns, which he said had been heightened by the current public health crisis.
Professional Pensions' sister title Professional Adviser first revealed Tideway was one of the firms the FCA visited back in 2017 during its first multi-firm supervision exercise on DB transfers. Despite the visit, Tideway maintained permissions to carry out DB transfer advice.
Then, in November 2018, Tideway revealed it had revamped its DB transfer offering after the FCA made it clear it wanted firms to provide a "fully joined-up" service.
Tideway has been persistently outspoken on DB transfers. Speaking at the Personal Finance Society's Future Proof conference in November 2018, Tideway head of private clients James Baxter (pictured) suggested the press made DB transfer advisers look bad, likening the media's portrayal of those giving advice in the area to drug dealers.
At the time he said: "Unfortunately, the way [DB transfers] gets told when the press gets hold of it, is that [people who advise on transfers] are like drug dealers."
Last month, PA revealed the FCA was again set to take a deep dive into the DB transfer industry by sending out a second marketwide questionnaire.
Nearly 2,000 firms received the questionnaire, which contained approximately 30 questions, including questions on the percentage of total income that comes from providing pension transfer advice and the number of clients who did not take ongoing advice, as well as the number of pension transfer specialists at the firm, the range of charges available and professional indemnity insurance.
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