Here’s how we can help with a complaint about the financial advice you received to transfer your pension from the British Steel Pension Scheme.
You can also find out more about the redress scheme that’s been put into place by the financial services regulator, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and what it means for making a complaint.
On this page
- Will the advice I received be reviewed under the FCA’s redress scheme?
- Making a complaint under the FCA’s redress scheme
- BSPS complaints that were with us before the redress scheme started
- How to complain outside of the redress scheme
- How to contact us about BSPS complaints
- Putting things right
- Information for financial businesses that gave BSPS advice
In 2016, it was decided that the British Steel Pension Scheme (BSPS) should be restructured. Members who were thinking about taking their money out of the scheme were required to take financial advice.
Since then, it’s emerged that some financial businesses may have given unsuitable advice to transfer out of the BSPS. This means that members may have lost out financially – and could be due compensation if it’s found that the advice was unsuitable.
The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has said that financial businesses and advisers must check the advice they provided to transfer out of the pension scheme. They have set rules that financial businesses must follow about how and when to do this, under a ‘redress scheme’.
Will the advice I received be reviewed under the FCA’s redress scheme?
The FCA’s redress scheme for former BSPS members means that financial businesses need to assess the advice they gave on all cases that fall under the scheme, and to pay compensation where appropriate.
Businesses that gave advice about transferring out of the scheme are required to contact customers directly. So, if you’re a former BSPS member, you should have received a letter from the business that advised you.
The letter explains whether the advice you received is either ‘in scope’ or ‘out of scope’ of the redress scheme. It makes it clear whether the business will review the advice under the scheme.
If you haven’t received this letter, please get in touch with the FCA.
You can let the business know you want to opt out of the redress scheme if you don’t want them to review the advice you received.
Making a complaint under the FCA’s redress scheme
If you disagree with the business’s findings at any and each stage of the redress scheme, you can complain to us. If we find that the business hasn’t applied the redress scheme’s rules correctly, we’ll set out what it needs to do next.
When the business contacts you at each of the stages below, they should include a form that makes it easy to complain to us if you’re not happy.
If the business says your case is out of scope of the redress scheme
If you disagree with the business’s reason that your case is out of scope, you can complain to us about this.
Be aware that only advice given between 26 May 2016 and 29 March 2018 is covered by the scheme.
If the advice you received wasn’t given during the dates covered by the redress scheme, it won’t be in scope.
There might also be other reasons the advice won’t be covered be the redress scheme, for example if you:
- were advised not to transfer and were classified as an ‘insistent client’
- have already complained to us, or received redress in full and final settlement
- are outside of other time limits
If you’re unhappy with what the business says at this point, we can check that the financial business has applied the scheme’s rules correctly.
If the business says your case is in scope of the redress scheme
If you get a letter that says that the business will review the advice you received, you don’t need to do anything, and you don’t need to get in touch with us at that point. The business will review your case under the scheme to see whether the advice you were given to transfer was suitable.
Then we can check the business’s decisions during the scheme:
We can look at the business’s review of its advice
The financial business must review the advice given to all former BSPS members that falls within the scope of the scheme to determine whether it was suitable.
Once you get the outcome of this review, you can complain to us if you’re not happy. If the business has said it thinks the advice it gave was suitable, but you disagree, we can look at whether the business’s review was carried out correctly under the scheme rules.
We can look at how the business calculated the redress owed
If the business decides that the advice you were given was unsuitable, they’ll calculate whether you’re owed any redress – and, if so, how much.
The business will write to you and will include a report that shows the information about you they used to calculate your offer. You should check that the information used is correct, to make sure the firm is offering you the right amount of money. If you’re unhappy with the business’s calculations, you can complain to us at this stage. Time limits apply, so it’s important you contact us as soon as possible if you have any concerns.
When we uphold a complaint about advice to transfer out of the British Steel Pension Scheme (BSPS), we tell the business to put the consumer in the position they would be in now if they had remained in the British Steel Pension Scheme.
When we look at a complaint about this, we’ll review whether the business has calculated any redress in accordance with the scheme rules for redress calculations.
You can read more about our approach to redress in section six on this page, about putting things right.
BSPS complaints that were with us before the redress scheme started
If you complained to us about advice to transfer your pension before the redress scheme started, you don’t need to do anything else.
There’s no need for the advice you received to be reviewed under the redress scheme, as we’re already looking into it.
You’ll get a letter from the business saying that your case is out of scope of the scheme. But we’ll continue to investigate your complaint outside of the scheme and will get in touch when we have an outcome to share with you.
How to complain outside of the redress scheme
If you agree that your case is out of scope of the redress scheme, but you still want to complain to us about the advice you received, we may be able to look at what happened under our usual complaints process. You will need to complain to the financial business first. However, there are time limits to keep in mind.
How to contact us about BSPS complaints
If you have any questions about making a complaint, or a case that’s already with us, we have a dedicated team who deal with complaints involving BSPS. Here’s how you can get in touch:
Read more about how to make a complaint.
Putting things right
When we uphold a complaint, we usually tell the financial business to put the consumer back in the position they would have been in if the problem that caused the complaint hadn't happened. We might also make an award for any distress or inconvenience you've been caused.
Where you’ve lost out financially, we can tell the business to pay you money directly to put things right. That might mean we award a specific amount or that we tell the business how to calculate the amount you should receive.
Read more about how we ask businesses to pay compensation or put things right in other ways.
If we think you were given unsuitable advice about transferring your British Steel pension and we uphold your complaint, we’ll tell the business to work out whether you’ve suffered a financial loss as a result.
This is calculated by comparing the value of the benefits you would have had if you’d stayed in the British Steel scheme against those you have now in your personal pension.
The FCA has produced a calculator for financial businesses to use to work out whether customers are owed redress under the scheme.
It uses the following information to calculate whether there has been a financial loss and, if so, the amount of redress to be paid:
- information about your personal circumstances and your personal pension
- information about the British Steel Pension Scheme
- assumptions about future interest and annuity rates and investment performance
Sometimes, even though a complaint about the advice you received is upheld, the calculation will show that you have not lost any money as a result and so there is no need for the business to pay you any redress. This is because the benefits that are likely to be available from your personal pension are sufficient to make up the benefits lost when you left the British Steel Pension Scheme.
If the calculation shows you’ve suffered a financial loss, the redress can be paid directly to you or to your private pension.
We will ask businesses to calculate any redress in accordance with the scheme rules and using the FCA calculator. We’ll ask them to complete the redress calculation within 30 days of us providing an answer on the case. If redress is not paid within that time, we may ask the business to update the calculation.
The FCA has more information about the redress scheme, including key dates, deadlines and how to contact them if you have any questions.
Information for financial businesses that gave BSPS advice
We have information for financial businesses about the BSPS redress scheme and handling BSPS complaints.
Financial businesses can also read further general information on how we handle complaints.