St James’s Place advisers were “very active” in the promotion of cash equivalent transfer values during a consultation to close a defined benefit scheme at British Airways last year.
A letter published by the work and pensions select committee sheds light on the activity of advisers when BA consulted members about the closure of the New Airways Pension Scheme during September and October.
The committee’s letter asked the Trades Union Congress to explain what reports it has received about advisers and introducers visiting workplaces in the past 12 months to discuss pension transfers with employees.
TUC policy officer Tim Sharp says the British Airline Pilots’ Association reported that during the consultation process for closing the scheme to future accrual, SJP advisers were active in trying to promote CETVs and this was not promoted by the employer.
Last December, SJP said it would no longer accept new DB transfer requests from British Steel Pension Scheme members.
According to the TUC response, the Prospect union also says Tideway was proactively contacting workers at energy giant EDF and Magnox Electric Group.
A spokesman for SJP says: “For a number of years, seminars have been hosted for BA pilots covering a number of pension related topics – for example, issues with tapered and lifetime allowance – and focussing on the value of the BA DB schemes.
“At the seminars it is made absolutely clear that SJP does not offer independent financial advice, and these are arranged with the knowledge and agreement of all relevant parties.”
He adds: “We have strict policies in place around marketing and the transfer of pensions and, as is the case for all clients, a DB transfer will only be recommended where it is the right course of action for the client, taking into account their full financial circumstances and needs.
“Due to the complex nature of these transactions, every DB case is fully checked and authorised by a qualified individual before a transfer can go ahead.”