Pensions  

Pension service sets up hotline for concerned steelworkers

Pension service sets up hotline for concerned steelworkers

The Pensions Advisory Service (Tpas) has set up a dedicate phone line for members of the British Steel Pension Scheme (BSPS).

Around 130,000 steelworkers will have to choose to move their defined benefit (DB) pension pots to a new plan being created, BSPS II, or stay in the current fund, which will be moved to the Pension Protection Fund (PPF).

The deadline for this decision, 11 December is approaching fast, and as revealed by FTAdviser, some of the members don’t have all the information their need to make a decision.

The Tpas hotline, available at 020 7932 9522, was set up on Friday (24 November), due to growing demands from steelworkers and concerns about their future.

Michelle Cracknell, chief executive of Tpas, tweeted on Thursday (23 November), "A helpline for Tata Steelworkers will go live tomorrow. Any steelworkers who wish to call us before tomorrow, please call the regular helpline and webchat."

Ms Cracknell did not reply to requests for further comment on this matter by press time.

Stefan Zaitschenko, a former Tata steelworker who helps run a Facebook group for members of the old scheme with 4,300 participants, said the move follows demand from concerned steelworkers.

“There was a big enough concern and enough members already calling Tpas, The Pensions Regulator and the Pensions Ombudsman,” to prompt the launch of the dedicate phoneline.

He said: “We are trying to help them [Tpas] with the kind of questions that we receive [in the Facebook group].”

Of the total members, 43,000 are deferred, which means that transferring out their pension is also an option for them.

More than 7,000 members of the scheme have requested a transfer value quotation between April and September this year, with more than 700 requests totalling more than £200m being concluded or processed during that period.

Adding to this, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) is concerned about the advice being given to these individuals, and has an ongoing programme of visiting advisers in Wales, where there is little evidence of financial advisers suggesting anything other than transfers to the members.

According to estimates from advice firm Montfort International, only 15 per cent of BSPS members who are currently under pressure to decide what to do with their retirement nest egg should transfer out their pension.

maria.espadinha@ft.com