FCA publishes response to British Steel Pension Scheme complaints

We've been investigating a number of complaints, under our complaints scheme, about our actions or inactions in relation to the British Steel Pension Scheme (BSPS). 

Members of the BSPS worked hard during their employment and have experienced significant worry regarding their financial security in retirement. We found that many BSPS members suffered financial loss after being advised to transfer out of the scheme. Our evidence suggests 46% of all transfers were unsuitable.

As a result, in February 2023, we implemented a redress scheme for BSPS members who had received advice. Under this, financial advisers must check whether people who transferred out of the pension scheme were given the wrong advice. Where wrong advice was given, they must calculate if redress is due, with the aim of putting people back in the financial position they would have been in at retirement had they stayed in the BSPS. 

The FCA has also undertaken unprecedented enforcement activity against those who delivered the poor advice. To date, this has resulted in 15 bans for individuals and fines or payments to the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) totalling £8.87m, though some matters have been referred to the Upper Tribunal.

We received a number of complaints that the FCA’s response to events in relation to BSPS was insufficient and failed to adequately protect steelworkers, including complaints about the length of time it took to provide redress.

We have published our main decision letter, which has been shared with the complainants. In this we explain in detail how we have carefully considered the concerns they raised and the actions we took. Having done so, we concluded that, while there have been lessons for us to learn, for example, in strengthening links with partners, such as the Pensions Regulator, we took appropriate regulatory action based on the information available at the time. We have, therefore, not upheld the complaints. We recognise that this will be a disappointing outcome for complainants.

Read more about our complaints scheme

Given the very clear public interest in this issue, and to support our accountability to the public and to Parliament, we have taken the unusual decision to publish our main decision letter so people can read for themselves how we reached the conclusions we have. We have published as much of the letter as possible, whilst taking into consideration the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 (FSMA), the UK General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the Data Protection Act 2018 which place restrictions on the information that can be shared by the FCA (for example information about firms).

Complaints are a valuable source of feedback which help us improve and learn, and we take all complaints seriously. We have sought to learn lessons as a result of events relating to BSPS and accepted a number of recommendations made following the significant public scrutiny and independent reviews into BSPS, for example by the National Audit Office. In addition, we have identified additional learning as a result of this complaints investigation.

If you were given poor advice to transfer out of the British Steel Pension Scheme, you could be owed money.

Find out how this is being put right

Call our dedicated BSPS helpline if you have any questions: 0800 098 4100 

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