Financial Conduct Authority  

Steelworker calls on FCA to review pension transfer documents

Steelworker calls on FCA to review pension transfer documents

The Financial Conduct Authority is facing calls to set up an independent review of transfer documents used with British Steel Pension Scheme clients.  

The British Steel pension transfer fallout began in 2017 when members were asked to decide what to do with their pensions as part of a restructuring process of the defined benefit scheme.

Almost 83,000 of the 130,000 members chose to move into a new scheme, some 39,000 were put into the PFF and a further 8,000 transferred out of their defined benefit scheme - with transfers collectively worth about £2.8bn.

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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 have since gone out of business while others have resumed that service.

Rich Caddy, shift operations manager at British Steel in Teesside and one of the former members of the pension scheme, has now launched a campaign calling for the FCA to establish an independent review body to which members can submit transfer documentation. 

Mr Caddy said many members currently feel uncertain of the choice made in 2017 and the advice they received. 

In a campaign page launched today (January 27) he said a review would give members confidence to raise a complaint if necessary and restore confidence in those advice firms which offered suitable advice.

Mr Caddy said: "For the past three years members of the British Steel Pension Scheme who transferred out have been left in limbo following reports of being given unsuitable advice.

"These reports have not only been damaging for members but also the financial advice industry.

"To find a common ground I’m requesting further intervention from the FCA - last year they held a couple of seminars which seemed restricted to members in Port Talbot and our members are spread throughout the country."

Mr Caddy said whilst the regulator has already taken a small sample of reports, he would like to see all of the BSPS transfer advice checked.

He added: "The result of which would give assurances to members, and help clear adviser reputation." 

In December the Financial Services Compensation Scheme confirmed it had paid a total of £2.4m to steelworkers advised to transfer out of the BSPS by adviser Active Wealth. 

Active Wealth was the first British Steel adviser to be stripped of its pensions transfer permissions by the FCA, with the lifeboat scheme's compensation averaging at almost £32,400 per claimant.

The FCA has been approached for comment.

rachel.mortimer@ft.com 

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