We are aware that certain firms are making unsolicited offers to former British Steel pension scheme (BSPS) members who have not made complaints.
We are aware that 4 firms who are associated with the British Steel Adviser Group may be engaged in this conduct.
We have introduced a redress scheme for former BSPS members who have not complained. Under the scheme firms will have to review the advice they gave and pay redress to those who lost money because of unsuitable advice.
We believe the actions by firms may be a deliberate attempt to exclude former members from participating in the scheme, binding them to receiving less money than they might be entitled to under the scheme. If substantiated this is wholly unacceptable and constitutes serious malpractice.
Some firms have told consumers that their redress would amount to zero if it is calculated in accordance with our guidance. Preliminary evidence suggests that they are not following the guidance we expect them to follow when calculating redress.
We are urgently looking into these cases and will consider taking action against any firm we find to be misleading consumers or making offers not calculated in line with our guidance.
Expectations for firms
We expect firms to treat customers fairly and to clearly explain the implications of accepting an offer before the scheme starts.
If a former BSPS member has made a complaint to a firm and the firm decides that the advice was unsuitable, the firm should inform them that the redress methodology will change on 1 April 2023 and that they have the option to wait until then before the redress calculation is carried out.
Implications for former BSPS members
Accepting an offer now might mean former members are not included in the scheme and might mean they do not receive the right amount of redress.
If former members do not take any action and do not reply to the offer from the firm, they will be included in the redress scheme we have established, provided they are eligible. Firms will then be required to use our calculator when calculating redress if the advice was unsuitable.
If consumers have their cases reviewed as part of the redress scheme, they can ask the Financial Ombudsman Service to check that the firm has calculated redress in accordance with the scheme rules.
Former members who receive offers before the scheme starts and are unsure about their options can contact the Financial Ombudsman Service free of charge. Former members who intend to accept offers before the scheme starts may wish to consider obtaining independent legal or financial advice before doing so.
If you think you have been affected, you can call our helpline on 0800 098 4100.
Read more information about the scheme.