British Steel  

FSCS declares two BSPS advice firms in default

FSCS declares two BSPS advice firms in default
 

The Financial Services Compensation Scheme has declared another two advice firms involved in the British Steel pensions saga in default.

Newcastle-based Whitebridge Financial Planning and West-Yorkshire based Briggs Murray Financial Planning & Wealth Management, trading as Briggs Murray Wealth, were both declared as failed yesterday (April 26).

The two firms, both of which are in default, have claims regarding the BSPS.

The FSCS said it has received two claims for Whitebridge Financial Planning but no compensation has been paid yet.

For Briggs Murray, it has received 14 claims but again no compensation has yet been paid.

FSCS said it could not say how many BSPS claims there were at this stage as each claim has to be investigated individually.

The FSCS also declared West-Yorkshire based firm Keywood Olley & Associates, trading as North East Mortgages and EMH Financial Planning, in default on April 5.

This was another advice firm involved in the British Steel pensions saga. 

In January, the FSCS declared two BSPS advice firms in default, Channel One Financial Planning and Argent Wealth

Earlier this month, the FCA confirmed its plans to move ahead with the proposed British Steel redress scheme which will cover steelworkers who transferred out of the scheme between May 26, 2016 and March 29, 2018.

In a consultation paper, the FCA estimated that 1,400 steelworkers will receive £71.2mn in redress under the scheme. 

Redress represents a transfer to BSPS members who received unsuitable pension transfer advice from the firms that provided that advice, to the extent that they remain in business. 

The BSPS case

During 2017, BSPS members were asked to make decisions about their pensions as part of a restructure of the scheme.

About 8,000 members transferred out of the scheme, with transfers collectively worth about £2.8bn.

But concerns about the suitability of the transfers were soon raised, leading to an intervention from the Financial Conduct Authority that resulted in a number of advice firms – key players in the debacle – stopping their transfer advice service, while others went out of business.

The debacle created a mountain of liabilities, which lawyers believe could end up costing the industry up to £300mn.

In September, the FCA and FSCS travelled to Swansea to meet steelworkers who could be due compensation but were met with mixed feelings, with some showing no interest while others claimed they were unable to book a place.

The City watchdog also travelled to Swansea in November to meet steelworkers about bringing possible claims against their adviser.

sonia.rach@ft.com 

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