FCA consults on charge caps for workplace personal pensions: FCA has launched a consultation on a proposed charge cap on auto-enrolment funds and banning certain charging practices in relation to contract-based workplace personal pension schemes.  The practices banned would include firms paying or receiving consultancy charges, firms paying charges for advice not initiated by scheme and firms using differential charges based on whether the member is currently contributing or not. The consultation period lasts two months, until 31 December. (Source: Charges in Workplace Personal Pension Schemes)

FCA updates on data strategy: FCA has published an update on its strategy regarding its management and use of the data it collects. FCA notes the following progress on the three areas of focus for the previous year:

  • governance and ownership: FCA has established the Information Governance Board and coordinates with the PRA through a joint data management committee;
  • engagement with firms: FCA is facilitating that more disclosures be made through the GABRIEL electronic reporting system; and
  • better handling of data: FCA is exploring the use of commercially available data, which could potentially reduce the amount of data requested from firms.

(Source: The FCA Data Strategy: An Update One Year On)

FCA fines Sesame for "pay to play":  FCA has fined Sesame Ltd £1,598,000 for setting up a "pay to play" scheme. FCA found Sesame had asked providers to tell it how much they were prepared to pay to be on the firm's restricted advice panel, and then told some providers it expected them to pay a certain amount to be on a panel. FCA found the scheme undermined the aim of the Retail Distribution Review (RDR). It said Sesame was influenced in its decision to include providers on restricted advice panels by its commercial interests. FCA commented the fine, which benefited from 30% early settlement discount, partly reflected the fact this is the fourth fine in the network. (Source: FCA Fines Sesame for "Pay to Play")

FCA sets up new fund authorisation pages: FCA has revamped the part of its website that contains details of authorisation requirements and procedures for collective investment schemes. (Source: FCA Sets up New Fund Authorisation Pages)

FCA fines and bans individuals for insurance add-on mis-selling: FCA has banned three former executives of Swinton and fined them a total of £928,000. In 2013 it had fined Swinton £7.4 million for aggressive sales practices which resulted in mis-sales of monthly add-on insurance policies (and had previously fined the firm in 2009 for payment protection insurance mis-selling).  FCA banned the former Chief Executive, Peter Halpin from acting as chief executive of a financial services firm, and has banned Anthony Clare (former finance director) and Nicholas Bowyer (former marketing director)  from performing significant influence functions at any financial services firm. FCA said the risks, and the mis-selling, arose after the firm adopted a strategy to boost its profits and that the three executives should have recognised the risks the strategy presented. The individuals would have profited significantly from the proposed business. (Source: FCA Fines and Bans Individuals for Insurance Add-on Mis-selling)