James Jones-Tinsley, of Barnett Waddingham, believes SIPP operators have been placed at “a commercial disadvantage” by the regulator’s plans.
Mr Jones-Tinsley said: “Despite a number of SIPP Operators – including ourselves – arguing that they should be ‘carved out’ of the requirements to offer Investment Pathways, the FCA are pressing ahead with their implementation, on the back of a supposedly ‘broadly supportive’ response to January’s Consultation Paper.
“Of more concern for SIPP Operators is confirmation that the Pathways need to be up and running from 1 August 2020, unless less than 500 of the SIPP firm’s members have gone into non-advised drawdown over the course of the previous year.
“As well as disappointment that our concerns and arguments do not appear to have been addressed, the FCA have confirmed there will be ‘no safe harbour’ for providers deemed by individuals to have given them a personal recommendation by offering a specific investment pathway solution.
“In addition, SIPP operators are left guessing as to whether they will need to establish an Investment Governance Committee to oversee their Investment Pathways - as the FCA have said they will not deliver their decision on this aspect until the last quarter of the year.”
He added: “In the meantime, the clock has already started ticking on getting the Pathways in place – regardless of whether any of the SIPP operators’ clients will want them or not.”
Mr Jones-Tinsley said he believed the consultation process was “opaque” and “does not reveal the extent to which our concerns were addressed by the FCA”.