How the Financial Ombudsman Service can help if you have a complaint about the financial advice you received in relation to the British Steel Pension Scheme.
The industry regulator, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), wrote to around 8,000 people who transferred out of the British Steel Pensions Scheme (BSPS) following the financial advice they received. In the letter and guidance they published, the FCA stated about becoming aware of concerns about the financial advice received by BSPS members.
At the time, the scheme was being restructured, prompting many of the members to consider whether they should transfer out of a Defined Benefit (DB) scheme to a personal pension scheme. You can read more about types of workplace pensions and transferring out of them.
The FCA stated that any former BSPS member who was given financial advice to transfer out of the BSPS, and was unsure if the advice they'd been given was suitable, should make a complaint.
We have taken part in FCA-led events, designed to let BSPS members know about the quality of advice they should have received and what steps they can take if they are unhappy.
We have, so far, received relatively few complaints from BSPS members about pension transfers. Although there has been a recent uplift in the number of cases brought to our service, and we are beginning to see situations where consumers have complaints against more than one business.
How to complain
Bringing a complaint to us is straightforward and won't cost you anything. But you do need to talk to the business you want to complain about first, so they have the chance to put things right. They have to give you their final response within eight weeks for most types of complaints. If you’re unhappy with their response, or if they don’t respond, let us know.
If you are a BSPS member who transferred and wants to complain, you can:
- Check the BSPS website for more information about the scheme.
- Get in touch with the financial business that gave you advice and make a complaint to them. They should respond to you within eight weeks with their final response. You can look at the FCA's Financial Services Register for information about firms and individuals that are regulated by the FCA.
- If you're unhappy with what the business has said, or they haven't responded within the time limit, you can bring your complaint to us for free and without needing to go through a claims management company.
- We're working with both the FSCS (that handles cases where the financial business can no longer meet its liabilities) and The Pensions Ombudsman (that's handling complaints about the occupational pension scheme) so if you're unsure who to speak to, contact us and we'll ensure your complaint gets to the right place.
Contact our dedicated team
We have a dedicated team with specialist expertise who are considering complaints involving the transfers out of the BSPS.
Please direct any complaints to [email protected] so the team can provide tailored support.
What we look at
We’ll look at what advice you were given and whether it was suitable for you at the time, taking into account your circumstances and financial objectives. If we decide you were given unsuitable advice, we might uphold the complaint.
Putting things right
If we think your complaint should be upheld, and reinstating your pension benefits in the workplace scheme isn’t possible, we’ll tell the business to calculate whether you’ve suffered a financial loss. They do this by comparing the value of the benefits you would have had with the workplace pension against those you actually have in the personal pension.
If you’ve suffered a financial loss, we’ll tell the business to pay financial compensation to your pension plan, or if not possible, directly to you. We might also make an award for any distress, inconvenience, trouble or upset you’ve been caused.