Defined Benefit  

Regulators converge on British Steel pension members

Regulators converge on British Steel pension members

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), The Pensions Regulator (TPR) and The Pensions Advisory Service (Tpas) will be holding a public meeting for members of the British Steel Pension Scheme (BSPS).

Spokespersons from the regulators have confirmed the meeting will take place as part of their ongoing work in this case.

The gathering of steelworkers will take place in Port Talbot on Thursday (14 December), and will be chaired by Al Rush, principal at Rutland-based Echelon Wealthcare, he said in his Twitter account.

A spokesperson at The Pensions Regulator, said: "We are attending the meeting […] as we feel it is important to talk directly to members of the British Steel Pension Scheme about their concerns.

"We will be encouraging members to fully engage in the impartial and helpful communications from the British Steel Pension Scheme trustees about making a choice about their pension.

"We also want to warn those who may be considering transferring their pension pot to be wary of scams and deals that sound too good to be true."

Port Talbot is one of biggest steelworks in the world, and currently employs an estimated 10 per cent of the town's population.

Steelworkers have until 22 December to decide whether 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 failed scheme has about 130,000 members of which 43,000 are deferred, which means transferring out of their pension is an option for them.

FTAdviser reported in November that several steelworkers appeared to be transferring out their pensions after being lured by cheap deals by unregulated introducer firm Celtic Wealth Management & Financial Planning, which then referred the clients to advice firm Active Wealth.

More than a hundred complaints have already landed with the Pensions Ombudsman about the scheme.

Yesterday (11 December), the FCA announced it stopped three firms of giving defined benefit pension advice as part of its work concerning British Steel Pension Scheme.

The watchdog also said it will be visiting six more firms this week as part of these investigations.

The Pensions Advisory Service, in the meantime, has set up a dedicate phone line for the steelworkers.

Available at 020 7932 9522, the hotline is responding to growing demands from British Steel Pension Scheme members and concerns about their future.

According to Paul Gibson, managing director of Granite Financial Planning, the fact that the regulators are holding the public meeting is to be welcomed.

He said: “If it protects any more members from being financially disadvantaged, then that has to be good news.

“In an ideal world, the meeting would have happened earlier but at least it is happening now. It would be good if lessons can be learned and early warning signs are raised when one firm is conducting a large number of transfers.”

maria.espadinha@ft.com