U.K.’s Financial Conduct Authority seeks feedback on switching investment platforms



A logo sits on a sign in the reception area of the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) in the Canary Wharf business district in London, U.K., on Thursday. Nov. 21, 2013. The FCA is working with regulators including the U.S. Department of Justice and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission to investigate the potential manipulation of the foreign-exchange market. Photographer: Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg

The U.K. Financial Conduct Authority said Thursday it is seeking input from the investment management industry about allowing retirement plan participants to switch investment platforms.

To help investors change platforms while remaining invested in the same fund and without having to sell their investments, the U.K. financial services watchdog is proposing to ban or cap exit fees.

Through the proposal, the FCA wants to boost competition in the £500 billion ($660 billion) market of investment services offered to savers directly or through intermediaries.

Following an investment platforms market study launched in July 2018, the FCA found that while competition is generally working well, some investors and financial advisers can’t easily swap platforms for one that better suits their needs due to the time, complexity and cost involved.

“While the market is working well for most of its consumers, the package we’ve announced today should make it less expensive and time-consuming for investors to shop around and move to the platform that best meets their needs,” said Christopher Woolard, executive director of strategy and competition, in a news release. “As part of that, we believe it is right that we restrict exit fees so people can move their money freely.”

The consultation period closes June 14.

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