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What are the challenges facing British Steel Pension Scheme Members?

Anyone following the financial press recently will have noticed a glut of articles relating the issues being faced by members of the British Steel Pension Scheme. If you have missed the numerous articles we have provided a brief summary of the challenges below.

Current and Ex-British Steel workers who are members of the British Steel Pension Scheme have to make a decision by 22/12/17 as to whether they should move their existing defined pension to a less desirable scheme or leave it entirely and move to a personal pension.

There are over 130, 000 people across the country who are either currently employed by Tata Steel to those who retired from British Steel some time ago. Tata Steel the owners of the sites in Scunthorpe and Port Talbot announced that they would be off loading the British Steel Pension Scheme into the Pension Protection Fund, as part of the deal struck to keep the sites going.

One of the major challenges facing members of the British Steel Pension Scheme is how to ensure that they get the right kind of financial advice, about what is likely to be the most important financial decision they ever make. The difficulties they face are made even more challenging by the fact that so called ‘introducers’ are targeting British Steel Pension Scheme members, who then pass them on to financial advisers. There have been reports of people being advised to move their pensions into high risk investments that are only suitable for experienced investors.

As well as the pressure of having to make a huge financial decision with a deadline looming, British Steel Pension Members are faced with the fact that a number of the firms who have been providing them with advice have been banned from giving any more pensions advice by the Financial Conduct Authority. Leaving those who have taken advice from those particular firms in a very worrying position.

What are the options for British Steel Pension Scheme Members?

Here at TLW Solicitors we specialise in assisting people who have transferred pensions into alternative types of investments, which are unsuitable for them, based on negligent advice. As you can see from our numerous positive Feefo reviews by clients who we have assisted in the past, we can be relied upon to help recover money people have thought was gone for good.

So what are the options for British Steel Pension Scheme members if they are worried about bad investment advice?

The first thing we would say is that prevention is better than the cure, so if you haven’t already moved your pension we have 5 top tips to consider:

  1. If it seems too good to be true, it probably is..
    If the returns being offered on a particular investment seem unusually high and much better than your current returns this should be a big red flag. When it comes to pensions investments, the old adage is true “If it seems too good to be true, it probably is…”
  2. Email, cold call or spam text.
    Many of the most successful pension scams of recent years stemmed from mass marketing approaches such as emails, cold calls or spam text messages. Our advice if you are considering an investment after one of these types of approach is put your phone down, take your time and do not be pressured into making a decision.
  3. Is the person pushing the scheme regulated/recommended?
    The Financial Conduct Authority website has a register of all authorised financial advisers, before going ahead with any investments check the credentials of the adviser here. However this does not guarantee that the adviser is going to have your best interests at heart. The other thing you can do is to look for any personal or on line recommendations that the adviser has. If you know someone who has had a good service from the adviser this would be a big plus.
  4. Be wary of any newly formed investment companies.
    Most fraudsters will have only recently setup their company, again you can check the company history here www.gov.uk. If the investment company is new or recently formed then despite what they tell you, they have no track record.
  5. What’s in it for them?
    Historically advisers involved in recommending unsuitable investments have done so simply because they are acting as salesmen, as they were receiving very high commissions.  If an adviser is pushing a particular type of investment ask yourself ‘what’s in it for them?’

What if you have already made the transfer?

If you find yourself in the unfortunate circumstance where you think you may have moved your pension into a risky or unsuitable investment, TLW Solicitors may be able to help.

If you were advised by a regulated independent financial adviser (IFA) to move your pension TLW Solicitors can help you to make a complaint to the IFA. If the complaint is rejected then we can support you with the next step which may involve a complaint to the Financial Ombudsman or issuing court proceedings.

If the IFA that gave the advice is no longer trading, you still have options to recover some of the money. In this scenario TLW Solicitors can make a complaint the Financial Services Compensation Scheme.

If you are concerned about any of the topics raised in this blog, please do not hesitate to get in touch with us here at TLW Solicitors. One of our legal experts will be happy to discuss your concerns and explore your options.