Financial Services Compensation Scheme  

FSCS receives 22 claims against newly defaulted BSPS adviser

FSCS receives 22 claims against newly defaulted BSPS adviser

The Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) has declared another advice firm involved in the British Steel pensions saga in default.

Retirement & Pension Planning Services was declared in default on October 20 after falling into liquidation in July 2018

The FSCS has received 22 claims against the firm so far. Of these, two were successful, one was unsuccessful and 19 are still being assessed. It has paid out £125,000 to date.

The advice firm, based in Barnsley, saw its pension transfer permissions suspended amid the British Steel saga.

Retirement & Pension Planning Services was one of 10 firms listed by the Financial Conduct Authority as having had their permissions varied in the fallout from the BSPS debacle.

Members of the BSPS were given until December 2017 to decide whether to move their DB pension pots to a new plan being created, BSPS II, or stay in the existing fund, which has since been moved to the Pension Protection Fund.

This meant there were thousands of scheme members looking for financial advice at the same time, and many, as it turned out, received unsuitable advice. 

Towards the end of 2017, Retirement & Pension Planning Services submitted a voluntary requirement to the regulator and agreed to cease all defined benefit pension transfer business immediately in the wake of issues raised by the regulator.

Meanwhile, earlier this year, the FCA provisionally fined Retirement & Pension Planning Services’ director Geoffrey Edward Armin nearly £1.3m over poor transfer advice given to clients, including 183 steelworkers.

At the time, the FCA was also seeking to ban Armin from advising on pension transfers and opt outs, as well as from performing any senior management function in relation to regulated activities.

Armin, who the regulator described as “seriously incompetent”, was planning to appeal the decision to the upper tribunal.

The FCA alleged he had advised a total of 422 customers on DB transfers worth £125m. This included 183 members of the BSPS, with transfers worth £74m of which 174 transferred out of the scheme following Armin’s recommendation. 

Retirement and Pension Planning Services, which is now in default, operated a contingent charging model and received £2.2m in fees for all DB transfer advice, 55 per cent (approximately £1.2m) of which was retained by Armin and the firm, according to the FCA.  

sonia.rach@ft.com

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