British Steel  

BSPS adviser enters default with 13 FSCS claims

BSPS adviser enters default with 13 FSCS claims

Bartholomew Hawkins, a Cardiff-based IFA that had advised members of the British Steel Pension Scheme (BSPS), has been declared in default by the FSCS.

The firm was declared in default last week (March 26), meaning it was unable to meet liabilities.

Bartholomew Hawkins is facing 13 claims to date but the FSCS has yet to pay out anything. 

It had entered liquidation on October 23, 2020 following a complaint upheld by the Financial Ombudsman Service. 

In January 2018, the firm suspended giving advice linked to defined benefit transfers following an intervention from the FCA and its work concerning the BSPS.

In 2017, following a restructuring at their firm, steelworkers were given the option to move their DB pension pots to a new plan being created, BSPS II, or stay in the existing fund, which would be moved to the Pension Protection Fund (PPF).

The scheme had about 130,000 members at the time of which 43,000 were deferred, which meant transferring out of their pension was an option for them.

FTAdviser reported in November 2017 that several steelworkers appeared to be transferring out their pensions after being lured by cheap deals by unregulated introducer firm Celtic Wealth Management & Financial Planning.

But an FCA crackdown followed, which led to several advice firms ceasing DB transfer advice and many later collapsed under mounting claims.

Bartholomew Hawkins is the most recent advice firm to go into liquidation following the BSPS saga.

Barnsley-based Retirement & Pension Planning Services appointed administrators in June 2018, with Active Wealth also doing so earlier that year. 

Earlier this year (January 19), Pembrokeshire Mortgage Centre also entered default.

The firm, which traded as County Financial Consultants, was placed in default on January 14 and from January 19 the FSCS had received 35 claims against it.

Pembrokeshire Mortgage Centre went into liquidation in September 2020. In 2017 the firm had voluntarily pulled out of the pension transfer market and in April 2018 it left the pension market entirely.

Jon Yarker is a freelance reporter for FTAdviser