Defined Benefit 

Single British Steel firm advised on 872 transfer cases

Single British Steel firm advised on 872 transfer cases

A single firm was responsible for nearly half of all British Steel pension transfer cases probed by the Financial Conduct Authority.

The FCA’s chief executive Andrew Bailey revealed one of the 10 advice firms which saw its permissions suspended in the British Steel Pension Scheme (BSPS) debacle advised on 872 transfer cases.

According to FTAdviser sister newspaper the Financial Times, Mr Bailey revealed the watchdog assessed the pension transfers of 1,911 steelworkers, with a quarter of these transferring out.

In a letter to Nick Smith, the MP for Blaenau Gwent, Mr Bailey revealed 872 of these were arranged by a single firm which stopped advising on transfers after the regulator’s intervened.

But Mr Bailey said he could not identify the firm, or provide a breakdown of transfer figures for individual firms, because this would breach the Financial Services and Markets Act, which prohibits the disclosure of confidential information.

"We are also conscious that we do not prejudice the continuing work that we are doing related to BSPS and financial advice more generally," Mr Bailey wrote.

To date there have been 8,000 transfers out of BSPS, collectively worth about £2.8bn.

After the regulator intervened, 10 firms voluntarily gave up their permissions. Of these, only two have regained the right to advise on pension transfers.

Members of BSPS had to decide by December whether to move their defined benefit 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.

The scheme had about 130,000 members of which 43,000 were deferred, which meant they had the option of transferring out of their pension.

In November 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, now in liquidation.

In the meantime, a group of steelworkers in Port Talbot has instructed a solicitor firm to pursue a legal case against all parties involved in the pension transfer scandal.

maria.espadinha@ft.com

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