Defined Benefit  

MPs to meet BSPS representatives to discuss pension claims

MPs to meet BSPS representatives to discuss pension claims

MPs are set to meet with steelworkers’ representatives next week to discuss the Pensions Ombudsman’s latest rulings and the issue of further cases of pension mis-selling coming to light.

The meeting will take place in Westminster on January 28 and discuss the latest cases of defined benefit transfer mis-selling in the areas of Cardiff, Newport, Scunthorpe and Teesside.

Alastair Rush, principal at Rutland-based Echelon Wealthcare, Philippa Hann managing director of litigation at Clarke Willmott, and Robert Welch, a BSPS pensioner who has been helping former colleagues with information, will also ask MPs to act quickly on the matter of the Pensions Ombudsman's latest ruling on the British Steel Pension Scheme, which was published last week (January 17).

The Pensions Ombudsman rejected four complaints about the scheme trustees and their alleged lack of information on cash equivalent transfer values and early retirement factors when steelworkers had to decide whether to move their defined benefit pension pots to a new scheme.

BSPS members were asked to decide by December 2017 whether to move their DB pension to a new plan, BSPS II, or stay in the existing fund, which was then moved to the Pension Protection Fund as part of a restructuring of pension liabilities.

As a consequence, the calculation methodology behind CETVs and ERFs was changed on 1 April 2017, with the result that members who requested a transfer value or retired early from the BSPS after that date, received significantly higher benefits than those who had already transferred out or taken early retirement.

At the time it was alleged that thousands of members didn't receive all the information necessary about their pensions to be able to make an informed decision on the matter.

The representatives will also seek help from the MPs to encourage the Financial Conduct Authority to run community briefings in the north of England and south east Wales. 

The FCA ran several briefings in Port Talbot during 2019 where it spoke to former members of the British Steel Pension Scheme.

Last year a group of some 100 steelworkers met with representatives of Clarke Willmott and at least 40 of them came forward with a complaint.

These complaints will be brought to the advice firms in the first instance and could then land at the Financial Ombudsman Service, or even the Financial Services Compensation Scheme if the advice firms go bust.

amy.austin@ft.com

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