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New Rules on conducting Stakeholder Pension business

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The Personal Investment Authority (PIA) and Investment Management Regulatory Organisation (IMRO) yesterday published their rules and guidance on the conduct of stakeholder pensions business, including the training and competence of staff, by authorised stakeholder pension managers

Information for consumers about the stakeholder pension, together with decision trees, has been published by the Financial Services Authority (FSA) on its website at www.fsa.gov.uk/consumerhelp. A consumer factsheet will also be published shortly followed by an interactive version of the decision trees.

The main features of the conduct of business and training and competence regime are:

  • there will be consistent and comprehensive point-of-sale information about stakeholder pensions;
  • decision trees have been introduced to give consumers an opportunity to decide whether a stakeholder would be a good choice for them or whether they need advice;
  • stakeholder scheme providers will help customers through decision trees by the giving of information – which will not be personalised advice so will be without extra charge;
  • consumers being helped through decision trees by call-centre staff should have a decision tree in front of them and access to the important information that a decision tree contains;
  • staff of scheme providers giving presentations to groups of employees can be only those fully qualified to give investment advice.

The rules and guidance come into immediate effect and will continue in force until a stakeholder pension manager moves on to the FSA’s conduct of business rules.

The rules and guidance mirror those that the FSA is expected to make at a later date. This is designed to ensure that firms will benefit from a seamless transition to the FSA’s regulatory regime when the time comes.

The rules and guidance were subject to consultation, alongside those of the FSA, in Consultation Paper 61. In due course, the FSA will publish a detailed feedback statement. PIA’s Rules Notice 53 and IMRO’s 53 include a short summary of some of the main points arising from the consultation.

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