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FCA reviews clients files over British Steel pension transfers

The FCA has visited 16 advice firms to review their recommendations to transfer out of the British Steel Pension Scheme, the regulator has disclosed.

In a letter to work and pensions select committee chair Frank Field, FCA strategy and competition director Chris Woolard confirms the scope of the regulator’s work to date as it continues to assess client files amid concerns rogue advisers are taking advantage of steel workers.

Advice firms including Active Wealth have already ceased their advice on pension transfers after discussions with the FCA, and advisers have grouped together to offer counselling and pro-bono guidance to British Steel workers as fears increase that they are being strong-armed into transferring ahead of a deadline to either join a new scheme or take benefits from the Pension Protection Fund.

Woolard writes: “We have clear rules and requirements of regulated advisers providing advice on pension transfers and we are taking action now to ensure firms are aware of their obligations.

“To be clear, our position is that transferring a pension out of a defined benefit scheme is unlikely to be in a consumer’s best interests. Any regulated adviser providing such advice needs to ensure they have sufficient, well-evidenced reasons for doing so that meet our rules and requirements.

“We have been made aware of reports that some regulated advisers have been targeting BSPS members and providing poor advice on transferring from their defined benefit scheme into a defined contribution scheme or other investment. As such, we have sought to intervene to remind all regulated advisers of our clear and firm expectations of them by holding seminars and writing to all regulated pension transfer advisers in the affected areas.”

Woolard says the FCA may consider redress for pensioners where it finds cases of advice mis-selling.


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There are 3 comments at the moment, we would love to hear your opinion too.

  1. I remember carrying out loss assessments on cases where people had transferred out of British Steel when I was working on the Pension Review back in the 1990s.

    Some people never learn….

    • Yes, but back then TV’s were nothing like as high as they have been of late, so it’s a slightly different environment.

      That aside, I understand from a colleague based in S. Wales that the FCA’s primary focus is less on the minutiae of each recommendation to transfer than it is on where the money’s actually being invested. That’s the big ticking timebomb.

  2. I wonder how many of the firms that have been told to cease advising, or are being visited/investigated, are small, directly authorised IFA businesses?

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