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Steelworkers pension decision deadline extended

Steelworkers pension decision deadline extended

The deadline for the 130,000 members of the British Steel Pension Scheme (BSPS) to decide the future of their pensions has been extended to 22 December.

Initially, the steelworkers had 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), by 11 December.

The dedicated website from BSPS for members, called ‘time to choose’, is disclosing this information, without explaining, however, the reasons that led to this decision to push back the deadline.

Stefan Zaitschenko, a former Tata steelworker who helps run a Facebook group for members of the old scheme with 4,300 participants, told FTAdviser that steelworkers are also receiving letters reminding them to submit their forms back to the scheme, giving the new deadline.

Mr Zaitschenko said that this is great news, as several members have been requesting an extension to their deadline to make a decision about their pensions, due to a lack of data in the information packs sent by the scheme trustees.

A spokesperson from the scheme said that the trustees’ goal is to give as much flexibility as they can to members to give them time to make the right choice for them.

However, the trustees have “limited flexibility on this” as timelines are set out in the regulated apportionment arrangement (RAA) agreed with The Pensions Regulator in August, and "the member choice exercise has to be completed before the BSPS enters a PPF assessment period on 29 March 2018," the spokesperson said.

Earlier this week, the deadline for some 4,600 bridging pensioners had already been extended to 22 December, due to a new law solving an anomaly at the PPF.

maria.espadinha@ft.com