Are You An Insistent Client?
If you take financial advice and your financial adviser advises you not to invest in a particular product or advises you not to transfer your final salary pension scheme to an investment linked pension scheme such as a personal pension or a SIPP (self-invested personal pension) and you want to ignore the advice and still proceed with the transaction you are deemed as an insistent investor.
Much has been written and debated within the financial services industry about insistent clients. More recently, even the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) suggested that they would rule against a financial adviser if they had processed a transaction where the investing client did not have the knowledge that was at least equivalent to the financial adviser’s as clients cannot be reasonably expected to understand the consequences of their actions.
We have been involved in this debate and suggested that this puts the financial services industry in turmoil as you cannot expect any client to have high-level, degree equivalent pensions and investment qualifications and as such financial advisers are being left wide open to compensation claims despite the fact that they had advised clients not to continue with the course of action.
We appreciate that despite the downside of example: transferring a final salary pension scheme to an investment linked pension scheme, some clients still wish to do this to access their lump sum or make use of the new flexible drawdown rules and are happy to lose their guaranteed 'safeguarded' pension rights.
The financial services industry regulator, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has issued guidance and effectively given the go-ahead for insistent investor transactions. That said, to protect consumers from unscrupulous financial advisers, pensions and investment companies, the FCA has stipulated a number of rules for both the financial adviser and the client to follow in such circumstances:
About Time FCA Guidance
We are delighted that the FCA has issued this guidance to the industry and but we are currently unable to offer an insistent client service as our professional insurers will not cover either us or our clients. Insistent investor clients was becoming increasingly more popular given that so many clients want to transfer their low-risk final salary and defined benefit pension schemes to higher risk flexible pension drawdown schemes but given the turmoil in the financial services industry, insurers and transfer 'receiving' pensions schemes are 'running scared'.
This is because, despite the FCA guidance, the Financial Ombudsman Service has not yet commented on how they will deal with complaints where an insistent client transaction has taken place.