Pensions 

British Steel pension advice 'trial by Twitter' under fire

"They warned everyone who would listen about visiting advisers from other parts of the country, labelling them wolves/vultures/sharks/criminals and such like.

"This, without knowing anything about these firms, their processes or actually being qualified to comment," he said.

Since September, Mr Abley’s firm has been contacted by more than 300 steelworkers for advice.

Until 24 November, Pension Review Service has given advice to 51 cases – 27 in which the recommendation was to proceed with a pension transfer, and five not to proceed.

The remaining clients are still waiting for their cash equivalent transfer values (CETV) from the scheme’s trustees, he added.

Pension Review Service charges a fee around 2 to 3 per cent of the transfer value on a contingent fee basis.

If the customer doesn't want to sign up as a client of a firm, this percentage will double, Mr Abley explained.

Mr Abley also noted that if Mr Tapper and Mr Rush have evidence of malpractice the proper place for it "is with the FCA and not Twitter".

He said: "The really interesting thing is that these self-appointed experts do not appear to be qualified to comment.

"Despite this they have systematically attempted to disrupt the advice market and bring the advice process into disrepute."

In reply to Mr Abley’s accusations, Mr Tapper said he had "sympathy for advisers whose good advice is questioned".

He said: "But bad advice can wreck lives and must be stopped.

"The cream will rise to the top and South Wales advisers will be the stronger for seeing the back of rogues who could have done lasting damage to the reputation of financial advisers locally and nationally," he said.

Mr Rush classified Mr Abley’s claims as "nonsense".

He said that he has spoken to around 60 steelworkers since he started to accompany this case.

"The problem is that there hasn’t been any decisive intervention from the regulator," he concluded.

maria.espadinha@ft.com

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