On 7 February we told advice firms they should stop making unsolicited settlement offers to former members of the British Steel Pension Scheme (BSPS) who are likely to be part of the redress scheme we have established.
Under the redress scheme, firms will have to review the advice they gave and pay redress to those who lost money because the advice was unsuitable.
We are concerned that these unsolicited settlement offers, which are likely to be for less money than they are entitled to under the redress scheme, are a deliberate attempt to exclude former BSPS members from the redress scheme.
Due to these serious concerns, we warned the firms we saw doing this that they should:
- withdraw any existing settlement offers currently pending any consumer agreement
- treat any pending settlement offers as withdrawn
- cease making any further offers to former BSPS members who have not made complaints
Today, we have formally required two firms, Abbey Lane Financial Associates Limited and Estate Capital Financial Management Limited, to stop making these offers. Abbey Lane made offers of £100 to 82% of its clients who were BSPS members and Estate Capital made offers of £300 to 83% of its former BSPS members. We are concerned that these offers are significantly misaligned with the average calculated redress of £45,000 for former BSPS members who received unsuitable pension transfer advice.
The firms will be required to apply the redress scheme to consumers who have accepted these offers in the same way they must for consumers who have not accepted offers.
This means that they should receive the appropriate amount of redress. We will not tolerate this behaviour and we will take further firm action to put a stop to this sharp practice as needed.
Any consumers who are concerned about an offer they have received should contact us on:
- phone: 0800 098 4100
- email: [email protected]