Good news for savers as the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) launches a new online register that helps to separate genuine financial advisers from fraudsters.
Savers have now been given unprecedented access to a new online tool that helps identify fraudulent advisers. Built by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), the new Financial Services Register enables people to carry out checks on firms, individuals and collective investment schemes by cross referencing a name, reference number or postcode.
Why do we need this register?
As we reported earlier in the year, a nationwide study commissioned by MetLife UK revealed that an alarming nine per cent of retirees have fallen victim to, or been targeted, by financial fraudsters. The sheer number of bogus pension and investment schemes highlights the overwhelming need for this vital new tool.
Some reports have warned that conmen are cheating people out of nearly £3m a month in London alone, through a raft of sophisticated investment scams. It is also particularly timely given that some pension savers aged 55, who can now access their funds as cash, are reportedly fielding up to six cold-calls a day from firms.
How does the new Financial Services Register work?
The new Register has one search field to help you find a firm, individual or collective investment scheme by looking up its name, reference number or postcode. You can also search for certain investment exchanges.
You can filter the search results or click on a name for further information like contact details, the permissions a firm has or whether it is covered by the Financial Ombudsman Service and Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS).
The new Register also includes clearer language and help text to explain some important financial, technical and regulatory terms. Firms that are known to be providing regulated products or services without the required authorisation – or are knowingly running a scam – are included in the Register for the first time.
These firms are highlighted in search results by red text and a warning symbol to make clear that the FCA thinks you should avoid dealing with them or any associated individuals. Further information on unauthorised firms includes the different details being given out and whether they are falsely claiming to be from a genuine, authorised firm.
Customers can give themselves peace of mind
“Authorised financial advisers are subject to stringent regulation from the Financial Conduct Authority. Unfortunately, a small handful of fraudsters claiming to give advice are taking advantage of vulnerable customers and putting people off taking advice altogether,” said Carlton Hood, a director at Old Mutual Wealth, in an interview with The Telegraph.
Customers can give themselves peace of mind by checking the new FCA register to be sure that they are dealing with a properly regulated financial adviser. This will help them avoid making irrevocable, catastrophic decisions with their finances
The new Financial Services Register can now be accessed here.
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