Financial Conduct Authority  

FCA tells steelworkers to go to the Ombudsman

FCA tells steelworkers to go to the Ombudsman

The regulator has told members of the British Steel Pension Scheme (BSPS) who have complaints about the advice they received to talk with the Financial Ombudsman Service (Fos), after one of the adviser firms linked to unsuitable recommendations entered into default.

Active Wealth entered into voluntary liquidation on 12 February, months after the firm was told to cease any pension transfer activity by the FCA.

However, some steelworkers have already lodged complaints with the FOS over unsuitable advice.

The Financial Conduct Authority said today (16 February), in an update in its website, that complainants “should speak to their case handler to discuss next steps, including whether their complaint will be transferred to the Financial Services Compensation Scheme for consideration”.

BSPS members who were considering raising a complaint against Active Wealth should now do so with the FSCS, the regulator added.

The Fos only deals with complaints relating to solvent companies, while the FSCS steps in when a firm no longer has the resources to pay for compensation, if the claim is valid.

The FSCS said yesterday (15 February) that is aware that Active Wealth is in liquidation, and it is working closely with the FCA to understand the firm’s position.

According to Mark Neale, FSCS’s chief executive, the body is “working as quickly as possible to provide some certainty for customers”.

He said: “We are preparing to start considering claims as soon as we receive them and will provide further updates on our website as more information becomes available.”

Around 130,000 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 would be moved to the Pension Protection Fund (PPF), by 22 December.

Of the total members, 43,000 were deferred, which meant transferring out their pension was also 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.

Since March and until the beginning of February, the scheme has processed 2,600 pension transfers equating to a total value of £1.1bn, according to data revealed by the scheme trustees.

maria.espadinha@ft.com