Defined BenefitJun 14 2018

British Steel introducer could lose government grant

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British Steel introducer could lose government grant

Celtic Wealth Management, an unregulated introducer involved in the British Steel pension transfer saga, is in danger of losing its government grant, if a breach of conduct is proven.

In 2014, the Welsh government gave £118,500 to help the firm with the creation of a number of jobs based in Pontarddulias.

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

Several sources have said Celtic had been present at several roadshows of the British Steel Pension Scheme (BSPS) trustees, which were attended by members wanting more clarifications about their pensions.

Members were proposed a flat fee of £1,500 to arrange their defined benefit transfers.

Active Wealth entered liquidation in February after the firm was told to cease any pension transfer activity by the FCA months earlier.

The firm had advised as many as 300 British Steel pension clients, of which 64 proceeded to transfer out of the British Steel pension scheme into alternative pension arrangements without taking further advice about what to do with their nest eggs.

As with any company receiving Welsh Government support, Celtic Wealth “is required to provide evidence that it is operating within the terms and conditions of its Aid For Job Creation grant, and any breach of this could lead to grant monies being recovered,” a spokesperson for the Welsh government told FTAdviser.

The formal project completion report is due to be submitted by the firm for review shortly, she added.

She said: “The Welsh government considers the mis-selling of pensions transfers an extremely serious matter and are aware that such allegations have been made against Celtic Wealth and others.

“We understand that the relevant UK regulators are undertaking a wider review of pensions advice, and we will consider the options available under the grant agreement to take action should any breach of the conditions of funding be proven.

“Consequently, it would be inappropriate to comment further at this stage.”

Lawyers for Celtic Wealth said the company declined to comment on this matter.