Defined Benefit 

British Steel transfer IFA Active Wealth enters liquidation

British Steel transfer IFA Active Wealth enters liquidation

Active Wealth has entered into voluntary liquidation months after the firm was told to cease any pension transfer activity by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).

According to an entry on The Gazettethe UK's official public record, dated 12 February, the company agreed to be wound up and for insolvency practitioner Tina Bullock be appointed as liquidator on 5 February. The firm's liquidation was passed as a "special resolution".

Active Wealth was one of nine firms which stopped giving transfer advice after they were identified by the regulator as key players advising members of the British Steel Pension Scheme to transfer out their defined benefit (DB) pensions.

It emerged last week the firm had advised as many as 300 BSPS clients, of which 64 proceeded to transfer out of the BSPS scheme into alternative pension arrangements without taking further advice.

Some of these clients saw their pension pots being invested in self-invested personal pension (Sipp) providers, such as Momentum Pensions, and managed by Gallium Fund Solutions, a Kent-based discretionary investment manager.

FTAdviser reported in November that Active Wealth was working alongside unregulated introducer firm Celtic Wealth Management & Financial Planning, which referred the clients the adviser.

The firm's director, Darren Reynolds, was invited to speak at the Work and Pensions Select Committee alongside Clive Howells, managing director of Celtic Wealth Management, as part of an ongoing inquiry into the matter, but the pair failed to attend the hearing.

BSPS members have until 28 March to transfer their pensions out or it will be transferred to either the Pension Protection Fund or the new scheme, BSPS 2.

Latest figures obtained by FT Adviser last week showed more than £1bn has been transferred out since March 2017, by about 2,600 members.

But Henry Tapper, founder of Pension Playpen, who was involved in highlighting the debacle early on alongside adviser Al Rush, said he believed the total transfer figure would be closer to £3bn.

Al Rush said on Twitter today (14 February) he hoped the company would not start up all over again after shedding its current liabilities, commonly called phoenixing.

Active Wealth has been contacted for comment.

carmen.reichman@ft.com

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