Financial Conduct Authority  

Swansea IFA suspended by FCA

Swansea IFA suspended by FCA

Swansea-based firm S & M Hughes Limited, which trades as Crescent Financial, has been told to cease all regulated activities by the Financial Conduct Authority, effective on May 31.

Alastair Rush, principal at Echelon Wealthcare, who has been involved in helping steelworkers with their pension decisions, told FTAdviser that several steelworkers had enlisted the help of the adviser to transfer out of the British Steel Pension Scheme.

Mr Rush stated that he has seen advice suitability reports from the firm that referred to death benefits and flexibility, and distrust of Tata Steel, which he thought were "not enough to justify a transfer and more likely not when the client is in his thirties or forties".

He added: "Is this just the first? Who knows. The most important thing is peace of mind and security for those men and their retirement funds."

Crescent Financial and the FCA have been approached for comment.

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 Financial Services Compensation Scheme.

maria.espadinha@ft.com

What do you think about the issues raised by this story? Email us on fa.letters@ft.com to let us know.