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FCA rules out enforcement action against life companies

Treatment of long-term customers of Old Mutual, Abbey Life, Countrywide Assured, Prudential investigated

Property fund slams closure of Serious Fraud Office case

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The UK’s Financial Conduct Authority has determined that no enforcement action is warranted against four life insurance companies under investigation over their treatment of long-term customers.

A thematic review of 11 firms in 2016 identified that further work was needed to determine if six of the firms had failed to meet the FCA’s standards in terms of fee and exit penalty transparency.

They were Abbey Life, Countrywide Assured, Old Mutual, Police Mutual, Prudential and Scottish Widows.

Investigations into Police Mutual and Scottish Widows had already closed without further action.

On Wednesday, the FCA confirmed that “the conduct of the four remaining firms did not warrant enforcement action”.

“In each firm, some issues have been identified during the investigations, which are being addressed as part of our ongoing supervision of those firms.”

The financial watchdog said it will continue to assess life insurers’ adherence to its required standards and principles, and “take appropriate steps where necessary”.

Voluntary remediation

Old Mutual, which has since rebranded as Quilter, acknowledged the FCA’s decision.

“The FCA has stated that the conduct of Old Mutual Wealth Life Assurance (OMWLA), a wholly owned subsidiary of Quilter, did not warrant enforcement action,” according to a statement.

“The FCA has also stated that, as with other firms that were subject to the investigation, some issues have been identified during the investigations, and these are being addressed with the FCA as part of the ongoing supervision of OMWLA.”

The firm said that OMWLA’s voluntary remediation programme, announced in March 2018, continues and is unaffected by Wednesday’s announcement.

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