The number of financial advice firms that have the permissions to advise on defined benefit (DB) transfers has risen by over 600 over the last 12 months, according to Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) figures.
A freedom of information (FOI) request made by New Model Adviser® found the number of firms which have permission to carry out DB transfers was 4,177 as of 30 April 2017.
This compared to 3,560 at 30 April 2016 – an increase of 17% or 617 firms.
Since pension freedoms was introduced in April 2015 the number of firms with permissions has increased significantly, rising from 2,516 in April 2015, an FOI last year showed, to the latest figure of 4,177.
This rise in the number of firms which can advise on transfers has come at the same as demand has skyrocketed – there were 80,000 transfers for the 12 months to 31 March.
In June, Standard Life's head of pensions strategy Jamie Jenkins said he did not think the advice profession was capable of meeting the surge in demand for DB transfers at the moment.
‘I think it is emerging that the sheer volume of transfers and people requesting transfers there isn't the capacity to deal with it,’ he said.
The FOI also asked the FCA how many financial advice firms had their permissions to advise on DB transfers cancelled through a voluntary agreement over the past six months.
The FCA said in June three firms came to a voluntary agreement to cancel their permission on DB transfer advice. In March one firm had a restriction on its pension transfer activity which was subsequently changed to cease all activities in May.
The regulator is currently carrying out a multi-firm supervision exercise into DB transfer advice which requested information from 92 firms and visited nine of these firms.
The FCA’s executive director of strategy and competition Christopher Woolard told New Model Adviser® last month the regulator may carry out further investigation based on what it has found.