The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has imposed requirements on a further three advice firms “seeking to avoid their liabilities under the British Steel Pension Scheme (BSPS) redress scheme”.
The firms were associated with the British Steel Adviser Group and made unsolicited offers to its BSPS clients, which had not yet complained.
- Dudley-based Alpha Financial Services – the firm made offers of £100 ($124, €116) to 100% of its clients;
- Sheffield-based QED Financial Associates Ltd – the firm made offers of £300 to 93% of its clients; and
- Chesterfield-based Harvest Associates Ltd – the firm made offers of either £50 or £200 to 91% of its clients.
The UK regulator said: “We are seriously concerned that these unsolicited settlement offers were not calculated in line with our guidance, and were a deliberate attempt to exclude former BSPS members from the redress scheme.
All three firms will now be required to ensure that consumers who accepted these unsolicited offers are treated in the same way as customers who did not. This will ensure they receive the appropriate redress they are entitled to, putting them back in the financial position they would have been in at retirement had they stayed in the BSPS.
This comes several months after the FCA imposed similar requirements on Sheffield-based Abbey Lane Financial Associates Limited, Swansea-based Estate Capital Financial Management Limited and David Stock & Co.
“We will continue to take action where we identify this malpractice,” the FCA said.
The FCA’s BSPS offer issue has started since the launch of a redress scheme for ex-BSPS members.
Then, the FCA said it was aware of 15 companies, some part of the British Steel Action Group, that “may be engaging” with ex-BSPS members.
The action group is made up of pension advice firms involved in the British Steel saga, and it launched a legal challenge against the FCA over the set-up of the British Steel redress scheme. Recently, the group withdrew its legal action several months later.