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13 June 2022

We are very proud to be supporting a Chesterfield-based firm of defined benefit specialists who are proving it is possible to survive FCA scrutiny and get back to business.

It has taken Holistic Pension Transfer Specialists (HPTS) 30 months to return to unrestricted trading, after six files were deemed ‘unclear’ by the regulator in November 2019.

Clare Bruce, head of advisory at HPTS, said: “We have spent nearly £300,000 in legal fees and running costs to fight our way through the FCA’s investigation and subsequent surveillance, but no inappropriate advice had been given and we were determined to prove our innocence. Had we known at the outset how long it would take, it might have been another story, but coming out the other side of such an ordeal has given us an enormous sense of satisfaction.”

The FCA visited HPTS in November 2019 and immediately asked it to ‘voluntarily’ withdraw from the market after six files dating from 2017-18 were found not to contain enough factfinding evidence. Administrative delays and the effects of the pandemic meant it was May 2021 before work could recommence and only then, with every file being checked closely. This requirement has only recently been removed.

After HPTS’ external compliance support was heavily criticised by the FCA, the firm engaged B-Compliant to undertake reviews of the files highlighted as inadequate and oversee changes to the systems and processes it had in place. We continue to work together closely.

Our director, Vicky Pearce, added: “Anyone with DB permissions can expect to come under scrutiny from the regulator and so far, 20 or more firms have folded under the pressure. HPTS has proved if you are willing to jump through the FCA’s hoops and you have nothing to hide, you can operate in this high-risk market. The firm now has a clean bill of health and is producing advice to the highest standard. Reaching this point has been a huge learning curve, but it is moving forward with confidence and pride in its offering.”

HPTS is offering DB advice to the UK market, after working closely with regulated advisers assisting the ex-pat communities in Australia and America. For further information about its services, telephone (01246) 488979 or visit: www.holisticpensiontransferspecialists.co.uk

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