Defined Benefit  

FSCS pays out £500k to British Steel IFA clients

FSCS pays out £500k to British Steel IFA clients

The Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) is in the process of paying out £531,000 relating to claims it has received against British Steel IFA Active Wealth.

Data released by the scheme today (24 October) showed of a total of 43 claims closed so far, payment of £442,000 has been issued to 14 claimants, and a further £89,000 is to be paid to another three cases.

Some 17 cases have been rejected so far, while some others had lacked the right information.

Overall, the FSCS received 211 claims, of which 162 are still open and a further six have been re-opened.

The majority of the compensation (£451,500) allocated related to pension transfers to a personal pension, which was the reason for a total of 126 claims made so far.

The remaining £79,500 was in relation to 42 cases involving self-invested personal pension (Sipp) claims.

Some 34 claims were made in relation to other pension advice, and four related to the investment portfolio. There was also one claim about an investment bond.

The FSCS can award up to a total of £50,000 per investment claim.

Alistair Cunningham, chartered financial planner at Wingate Financial Planning, said the numbers were horrifying.

He said: "Horrifying due to the number of claims on Active Wealth, horrifying that the current compensation does not cover the likely loss of value of moving from a guaranteed pension and horrifying this could just be the tip of the iceberg."

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

It was one of 10 firms which stopped giving transfer advice after they were identified as key players advising members of the British Steel Pension Scheme to transfer out of their defined benefit (DB) pensions.

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.

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

In May, the FSCS explained how it would calculate the compensation for these claims.

The scheme said it would compare the benefits that would have been available to the claimant had they transferred to the new BSPS with the current value of their pension.

maria.espadinha@ft.com