Pensions  

Introducer firm luring steelworkers with low transfer fees

Around 130,000 steelworkers will have to choose to move their 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).

From these, around 43,000 are deferred members, which means that transferring out their pension is also an option for them.

Transferring out is considered by the FCA to be a highly risky - and irreversible - decision, as it means the pension holder giving up a lifetime's worth of guaranteed income.

Several steelworkers have mentioned Celtic Wealth in a Facebook group with more than 4,000 members.

An individual said: “I used Celtic Wealth Management in Pontarddulais, Swansea, £1,500 flat fee with no extras, fund charge per annum is approx 0.3 - 0.4 per cent. Very polite and helpful but as always do your own research.”

Other members, however, are warning their colleagues to check the position carefully.

A steelworker said on a Facebook closed group seen by FTAdviser: "Lady’s [sic] and gents, if you are planning to use an IFA to invest your pension pot elsewhere, please do a good background check on the person or company.

“I have just checked out Celtic Wealth Management on Companies House, the gentleman that is registered as the owner is listed as a mortgage adviser, which in my opinion does not qualify him as a pension adviser."

He added: “Please, please check as it is your financial future that you are putting in their hands.”

Some of Mr Carlson clients have mentioned Celtic Wealth Management to him.

He said: “Apparently, a lot other people have been going to Celtic; but I don't know anything about them.” 

Al Rush, principal at Rutland-based Echelon Wealthcare, revealed that some steelworkers’ pension pots are being invested by some financial advisers in esoteric and unregulated investments.

He said: “I spoke to somebody yesterday that has told me that he has been placed into a [self-invested personal pension] Sipp, and from a Sipp he has been placed into funds which I thought were completely and utterly unsuitable.

“They are funds that offer access to unregulated investments, and to offshore bonds, which is terrifying.”

There is no suggestion that these investments are being made through Active Wealth.

Mr Rush argued that the “steelworkers are in a dreadful position”.

He said: “They aren't financially sophisticated, they work in small teams, with a very close net community, and if two or three of their friends are invested in a company they might try it, but nobody understands the nature of the investments.

“This problem only occurred because Tata Steel and the trustees didn't get into place a decent counselling process for the steelworkers.