The FCA has published proposals for a compensation scheme for former members of the British Steel Pension Scheme (BSPS) who received unsuitable advice to transfer out of the fund.
The FCA has found that almost half (46%) of the advice it reviewed relating to BSPS was unsuitable.
It is proposed that the scheme will cover those who transferred out between 26 May 2016 and 29 March 2018. If it goes ahead, the FCA will publish rules setting out how advisers must determine whether they gave unsuitable advice and whether they must pay compensation. Independent checks and monitoring will be put in place to ensure that firms comply with the rules and consumers can be confident in the outcome of the review.
The FCA has previously set out that it will take strong action against impacted firms who try to avoid their responsibilities to pay compensation and already has an asset freeze in place on one firm. It reminded firms of these expectations today.
The Financial Services Compensation Scheme will consider claims from individuals who received advice from an insolvent business or one which no longer exists.
If confirmed, the scheme is expected to be in place by early 2023, with consumers starting to receive compensation from late 2023.
Consumers can make a complaint now rather than waiting for the outcome of the consultation. Information is available on the FCA’s website.
Sheldon Mills, Executive Director for Consumers and Competition at the FCA, said:
'The circumstances around British Steel Pension Scheme transfers were exceptional, with former members receiving significantly higher levels of unsuitable advice compared with other cases. We want individuals who lost out financially after receiving unsuitable advice to receive compensation through our scheme.'
Notes to editors
- The FCA has launched a consultation on the compensation scheme, which will be open until 30 June 2022.
- For the questions in Chapter 6, on calculating redress, we are asking for responses by 12 May 2022. These responses will feed into our consultation on how firms must calculate redress under the proposed BSPS redress scheme in July 2022. Alongside this we are updating 'FG17/9: Guidance for firms on how to calculate redress for unsuitable defined benefit pension transfers' which will be published in Summer 2022.
- In a letter sent today, the FCA has reiterated its expectation that firms in the scope of a potential redress scheme should retain assets and should not try to avoid their responsibilities.
- The FCA will work closely with the Financial Ombudsman Service and the Financial Services Compensation Scheme on the planned scheme.
- This is the second time the FCA has used its powers under section 404 of the Financial Services and Markets Act to launch a compensation scheme. The first related to consumers who were given unsuitable advice to invest in Arch cru.
- The FCA is investigating 30 individuals or businesses related to British Steel Pension Scheme.
- The FSCS has received around 1300 claims and paid £37.3m in compensation relating to the British Steel Pension Scheme. In addition to this around £15m has been paid to former BSPS members due to the FCA asking firms to review their previous business.
- The FCA held 9 events in South Wales and Scunthorpe since 2019 to provide information for concerned former members of the British Steel Pension Scheme. This has led to an increase in complaints to the Financial Ombudsman Service and compensation claims to the Financial Services Compensation Scheme. The FCA has also written to almost 8000 former members and engaged with consumers through social media, local MPs and unions.
- Consumers can find out more information about the scheme here
- The time limit to complain is usually 6 years after the date of advice. But if we make rules to require firms to implement a redress scheme, firms will be required to review advice given to consumers even if the time limits for making a complaint or claim run out after the scheme starts. Consumers who transferred in 2016 or earlier may be nearing the time limit for bringing a complaint, and this may expire before the start of the scheme. They should check their advice now and consider claiming.
- Find out more information about the FCA.