Pensions  

SJP refuses new steelworkers' pension transfers

SJP refuses new steelworkers' pension transfers

St. James’s Place announced today (13 December) that the firm will no longer take pension transfers from British Steel Pension Scheme (BSPS) members.

The steelworkers' pensions have become a nationwide talking point involving the industry's main watchdog the Financial Conduct Authority as well as MPs and The Pension Regulator, amid serious concerns the Port Talbort workers are being given the wrong advice about what to do with the lucrative settlements they will get from the pension scheme ahead of its closure.

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In the wake of the increased scrutiny, one of the UK's largest financial advice firms has announced it will not be advising British Steel pension scheme members.

“St. James’s Place has decided that we will no longer be accepting new transfer requests from members of the BSPS," the company said in a statement.

“However, we will continue to complete those already in the pipeline, where a recommendation to transfer was made by a St. James’s Place adviser prior to 8 December.”

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.

In a Work and Pensions select committee hearing today at the Parliament, MP’s were told that around 13,000 steelworkers have requested a pension transfer value, with many of them struggling to find a qualified adviser, amid criticism to the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) register.

FTAdviser reported in November that several steelworkers are struggling to get a financial adviser to take them as a client and advise them their pension transfer, amid concerns about a tight deadline and future liability.

At the time, St. James’s Place was still taking in new transfer requests. The company said it was looking at these on an individual basis, as it would for any transfer.

At today’s hearing, the FCA revealed the names of the advice firms it has asked to stop carrying DB transfers for steelworkers, after concerns were raised about the suitability of the advice they received.

Active Wealth, Pembrokeshire Mortgage Centre and Mansion Park are these three firms, Megan Butler, FCA’s head of supervision said.

maria.espadinha@ft.com