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FCA closes investigation into four life insurance firms

Countrywide Assured and Old Mutual are among four life insurance providers to have avoided sanctions from the FCA as the regulator completes its investigations into firms’ closed-book practices.

The FCA has ended its inquiry, more than two years after it originally reviewed 11 providers over how they treated longstanding customers.

The regulator expressed particular concerns about failures in the market in general to disclose exit charges, and whether customers were given enough information on an ongoing basis.

Abbey Life, Countrywide Assured, Old Mutual, Police Mutual, Prudential and Scottish Widows were singled out for further review.

The FCA closed its investigations into Police Mutual last September, then Scottish Widows in June, noting there was not enough evidence to take enforcement action against either provider.

Examples of enforcement action include fines, bans, warning notices, court action or permission changes.

The FCA announced this morning that the remaining investigations – into Abbey Life, Old Mutual, Prudential and Countrywide Assured – have now been closed.

While the FCA “found the conduct of the four remaining firms did not warrant enforcement action”, the regulator adds that “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 FCA’s statement did not detail any of the issues.

It says: “The FCA will continue to assess life insurance firms’ adherence to the required standards and principles, and take appropriate steps where necessary.”

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