Defined Benefit  

Tideway hits back at factory gating allegations

Tideway hits back at factory gating allegations

Pension transfer specialist Tideway has defended its defined benefit (DB) pension transfer seminars, claiming a mere 15 per cent of attendees typically went ahead with the process.

So far, the firm has completed about 20 seminars in the UK, attended by 400 people, with about 60 scheme members completing transfers with Tideway, James Baxter, the firm’s managing partner, said.

Mr Baxter argued the firm had never contacted scheme members directly or pro-actively and was working exclusively on a referral basis, despite previous accusations the firm was involved in practices of ‘factory gating’.

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In a letter to Labour MP Frank Field, chair of the Work and Pensions select committee, Mr Baxter detailed the firm’s operating process.

He stated: "If we have received multiple enquiries from a particular scheme and there is strong demand for guidance on the transfer options, we have from time to time presented DB transfer seminars at venues that are easily accessible to those individuals in those schemes.

"We publish the seminar details on our website and we email our existing customers letting them know times and dates.

"We know some of our clients pass on the emails, it they think it’s appropriate, to colleagues. We have no database or access to employees’ details of any individual DB scheme."

Tim Sharp, policy officer at trade union centre the Trades Union Congress (TUC), had accused Tideway of "proactively contacting workers at EdF and Magnox" and said this was "never done at the invitation of the employer".

But Mr Baxter said the firm conducted two seminars in Ashford on request from the EDF members working at the Dungeness site after the first few members, who found the firm via Google, had completed their transfers.

He added these briefings were exclusively attended by some 40 EDF members.

Mr Baxter also stated 26 EDF members - with average transfer values of £1.2m – and three Magnox members – with an average transfer value of £770,000 – have transferred out so far with the firm.

However, these represent merely about one in six thousand of the current scheme members, he said.

maria.espadinha@ft.com