You could be one of the many people due compensation after receiving unsuitable advice to transfer out of the British Steel Pension Scheme. Many people who have transferred out of the British Steel Pension Scheme since 2017 were given unsuitable financial advice. In nearly half of all cases reviewed by the Financial Conduct Authority the advice given was unsuitable. Even if you're happy with your decision to transfer, you should consider complaining or making a claim. If you don’t you may end up with less money in retirement than you should have done. There is limited time to make a complaint so you should take action now. Hundreds of steelworkers have already complained about the advice they received from an advice firm. This information sets out what you should do.
Step 1: Consider complaining
It is quick, simple and free to make a complaint or a claim and you do not need to use a claims management company or a solicitor to do this. If you do, you will have to share any compensation you get with them.
If you want to check whether the advice you had was suitable, you can go to the Financial Conduct Authority’s Advice Checker. This includes a video to explain the process.
If you would prefer to speak to someone on the phone about your situation, The Pensions Advisory Service (TPAS) provides independent and impartial information and guidance about pensions, free of charge. You can contact TPAS’ British Steel helpline on 0800 756 1012 or click here for other ways to contact them.
Remember you don’t need to be completely sure that the advice you received was unsuitable before you can complain. If you have any doubts about your transfer and the advice you received get in touch with TPAS to talk this through with them.
Step 2: Make a complaint directly or via the Financial Ombudsman Service
The next step is to complain to the firm that gave you the advice.
If you are not sure how to make the initial complaint to the firm, get in touch with the Financial Ombudsman Service by emailing email@example.com and they can explain the process. They also have a dedicated BSPS webpage. You do not have to approach your advisers to complain first, the Financial Ombudsman Service can do this for you. You don’t need to set out any arguments about why you think the advice might have been unsuitable – just give the name of your adviser and permission for the Financial Ombudsman Service to review your complaint. The investigator looking into your complaint will request all the information the firm has about the advice it gave you and determine whether it was suitable advice.
Step 3: What to do if you are not happy with the firm’s response
Once the firm has been made aware of your complaint – either by you or by the Financial Ombudsman Service on your behalf – it must respond to your complaint in writing within 8 weeks, telling you whether the complaint has been successful or why they need more time to look into it.
If you’re not satisfied with the firm’s response, or it doesn’t respond within 8 weeks, and you haven’t already done so, you can take your complaint to the Financial Ombudsman Service.
The Financial Ombudsman Service has published the actual outcome of a decision on a BSPS complaint which provides more detail about how the complaint was dealt with and what the outcome was for the BSPS member involved - click here to find out more.
What to do if your firm is no longer trading
If the firm that advised you is no longer trading, you can submit a claim to the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS). FSCS may be able to compensate you up to £85,000 if it determines you have suffered a financial loss because of the advice you received.
FSCS has also published a customer journey for BSPS members that explains how their claims process works, click here to find out more.
The situation as to whether or not a firm is still trading can change quickly. It might be that you contact the Financial Ombudsman Service, but it advises that your case should now be dealt with by the FSCS.
Contact details for the organisations:
- Money and Pensions Service: 0115 965 9570, www.moneyandpensionsservice.org.uk
- The Pensions Advisory Service’s British Steel helpline: 0800 756 1012
- Financial Ombudsman Service: 0800 023 4567, firstname.lastname@example.org, https://www.financial-ombudsman.org.uk/consumers/complaints-can-help/pensions-annuities/transfers-from-workplace-pensions-and-the-pensions-review/british-steel-pension-scheme
- Financial Services Compensation Scheme: 0800 678 1100, www.fscs.org.uk
- Financial Conduct Authority Contact Centre: 0800 111 6768 or online at www.fca.org.uk