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British Steel pensions and equity release rancor: the week in news

British Steel pensions and equity release rancor: the week in news

As far as we're aware no one in the financial advice industry has given their implicit backing to a group of fascists - *cough President Trump* -  so it can probably be considered quite a quiet week.

So lets turn out our pockets and see what actually did happen in the week in news.

1) What a steel!

Let's dip our toes into the ceaseless news whirlpool that is the saga surrounding the British Steel Pension Scheme.

This week we learnt several steelworkers appear to be transferring out their defined benefit (DB) pensions from the British Steel Pension Scheme (BSPS), after being lured by an introducer firm called Celtic Wealth Management & Financial Planning.

FTAdviser understood from several sources that the firm has been present at several roadshows from the scheme trustees which are attended by members wanting more clarifications about their pensions, and proposing to them a flat fee of £1,500 on their DB transfers.

It comes amid concerns that BSPS members are struggling to get a financial adviser to take them as a client and advise them on a DB transfer because of concerns about a tight deadline and future liability.

Around 4,600 members were given an extension to their decision deadline this week.

Self-invested personal pension provider Momentum Pensions has put all further investments and pension transfers on hold from members and said it will not charge those who change their mind after it transpired it was one of the providers through which steelworkers' pension pots were being invested.

2) Release the equity!

As if one potential mis-selling issue with DB transfers wasn't enough, how about a second one?

More 2 Life said it had uncovered evidence showing advisers dabbling in equity release may be recommending the wrong deals to clients.

The provider has found three out of four over-65 homeowners could potentially qualify for an enhanced loan-to-value based on assessment of their medical condition, yet only 15 to 20 per cent of customers actually received an enhanced plan according to a more 2 life estimate based on Age UK Later Life in the UK, the Department of Health National Diet and Nutrition Survey and ONS population data.

One of the main reasons for this was a survey of 100 advisers at the end of 2015 by the provider found that 22 admitted they did not routinely ask health questions when discussing equity release with clients.

Stuart Wilson, marketing director at more 2 life, said a large number of new advisers are crossing over to later-life lending from the residential sector.

3) Women who won't buzz off

In case the government is fed up going head to head with Brussels bureaucrats, it can turn its attention to home and go head to head with...a group of women in their 50s.

As part of a legal campaign, thousands of women from across the country have submitted, and continue to submit, complaints against the Department for Work & Pensions (DWP) regarding what they call an inadequate communication of changes to the state pension age.

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