Defined Benefit  

FCA writes to steelworkers over pension transfers

FCA writes to steelworkers over pension transfers

The Financial Conduct Authority has written to all former members of the British Steel Pension Scheme who transferred out of their pensions, inviting them to attend seminars it will be hosting in Port Talbot.

In the letter, seen by FTAdviser, the regulator stated that regardless of the outcome of the advice received by these steelworkers, the FCA wants to give everyone the “opportunity to understand what the advice process should have looked like for them".

“This information will help them to decide whether to make a complaint,” said Chris McGrath, head of the investment intermediaries and scams department at the regulator.

The two seminars will be held on August 21 and September 5 at the Princess Royal Theatre, in Port Talbot, South Wales.

The events will include information about how the advice process should work, what questions the advisers should have asked steelworkers, what financial advisers should have done to demonstrate their recommendation.

They will also look at what services advisers should provide to members after the transfer.

Besides FCA officials, representatives from the Financial Ombudsman Service, the Financial Services Compensation Scheme and the Money and Pensions Service will also be present at the seminars.

Mr McGrath said: “We would encourage any former members of the BSPS who have concerns, or are unsure about anything related to their advice or decision, to attend the events and find out more information by talking directly to us and the other organisations.”

The FCA obtained the personal data (name and address) of the steelworkers from the trustees of BSPS and BSPS II, the new scheme, to enable the watchdog to inform them of their rights to make a complaint if they feel they were provided with poor advice, it stated.

Members of the BSPS were asked to decide what to do with their pensions as part of a restructuring process in 2017.

As a result, about 8,000 members transferred out of the old scheme by October last year, with transfers collectively worth about £2.8bn.

But concerns about the suitability of the transfers were soon raised leading to an intervention from the FCA, which resulted in 10 firms - the key players in the debacle - stopping their transfer advice service.

Some of these firms regained their permissions some months later, such as Mansion Park and County Capital Wealth Management, also trading as Pension Review Service.

Other such as Active Wealth went into liquidation and claims against it have already arrived at the FSCS.

maria.espadinha@ft.com

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