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Four directors involved in transferring £57m out of pension pots - much of it into SIPPs - have been banned for a combined 34 years following an Insolvency Service probe.

Platform and SIPP provider AJ Bell has called for annual platform charges to be disclosed in pounds and pence.


In its response to the FCA’s Platform Market Study interim report, AJ Bell says that reform of charges disclosure is important to allow greater scrutiny by investors.

The company wants:

  • Pounds and pence disclosure of annual platform charges
  • Regulatory guidance on bulk platform transfers
  • A lifting of the ban on cash rebates
  • Improved standards and transparency for model portfolio disclosures

Andy Bell, chief executive at AJ Bell, said: “The platform market has grown to a size and importance that merits greater scrutiny but equally it has delivered significant benefits to consumers in terms of lower charges and greater transparency that shouldn’t be derailed by unnecessary intervention. 

“In this respect, the interim report hit the right note in terms of highlighting the aspects of the market that need further debate.”

“The FCA is absolutely right to put value for money front and centre of the platform market study and sharpen the focus on revenue margin, expressed as the amount of revenue each platform makes in a year from each £ of assets under administration (AUA).”

He said that revenue per £ of AUA “cuts through” the complexity created by different platform charging structures.

He wants to see investors given the level of charges each platform levies per £ invested. 

This would be disclosed as £s of revenue per £100,000 of investment, rather than a basis points measure.

He said that based on the 2016 numbers from the interim report platform fees per £100,000 would range from £220 per year to £540. 

Mr Bell said he would also like to see platforms provide a calculator on their websites that showed customers the annual charges that potential and existing customers will pay, in pounds and pence. 

He also wants to see switching between platforms made easier.

In addition, he called for the lifting of the ban on cash rebates among other changes to simplify and streamline how platforms run and the charges they levy and to reduce complexity.

The FCA has imposed a reduced fine of £60,000 on Alistair Rae Burns and made an order banning him from performing any senior management function in financial services.
I was going to open by commenting that it’s the time of year when the budget rumour mill starts kicking into action, but of course this will only be the second Autumn Budget, so we’re more accustom to these things happening at the start of the year.
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