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Steelworker

British Steel Pensions scandal heard at the Public Accounts Committee

Philippa Hann gave evidence at Westminster on the British Steel Pension Scheme scandal

Clarke Willmott has successfully represented numerous steelworkers in recovering compensation for the losses they suffered at the hands of unscrupulous financial advisers. On Wednesday 27th April 2022, managing director of Litigation at Clarke Willmott, Philippa Hann, gave evidence before the Public Account Committee at Parliament on the widespread mis-selling of pension transfer advice to former members of the British Steel Pension Scheme.

Philippa has a longstanding involvement with steelworker pension claims. Since 2018, she has worked to help those affected obtain the redress they deserve.

Steel workers were pressured to make decisions

When asked by the committee how she thought so many steelworkers had come to lose their pensions, Philippa explained that the steelworkers were forced into making important decisions about their pensions in a very short space of time and without sufficient information. In addition, there were only a small number of advisors who were approved to advise them.

She said: “This was an opportunity that a number of financial advisers could not resist and… saw the opportunity to earn a lot of money. At the time contingent charging was allowed and so it was an easy way to persuade steelworkers who did not understand what they giving up…”

Philippa was able to assist the Committee by explaining the devastating impact of the negligent advice the steelworkers received from financial advisers. She said: “This impact has been absolutely huge…I have had grown men cry because of their fear that their retirement would not be what they had dreamt it to be…”

Significant industry issues were highlighted

On the speed of Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) response, Philippa’s view to the Committee was that the response was woeful. In her view, the FCA’s response seemed to have been a tick box exercise and there was a failure to properly understand what was going on. Philippa gave an example of a firm that gave up permissions to avoid the scrutiny of the FCA, then just sent clients to another rogue adviser – with both firms receiving a fee.

Philippa said that she believes the proposed FCA redress scheme is wildly optimistic and there are significant issues with the insurance position in the industry. She set out her concerns that large numbers of firms who advised on BSPS transfers will become insolvent because they no longer have insurance for the advice they gave and the cost of compensation will fall onto Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS). She highlighted that not all claimants to the FSCS had been treated equally as people who were encouraged to claim early were subject to a £50,000 cap by the FSCS. Later complainants enjoyed an increased FSCS limit of £85,000 and a change to the CPI measure which in many cases doubled the amount of compensation, she argued that those people should not be excluded from the redress scheme.

Philippa went on to explain the limitation periods for making complaints and what poor pension transfer advice is. She informed the Committee that, whilst the FCA has proposed that there will be no limitation period on the redress scheme, there are some steelworkers who fall outside of the redress scheme and the six year limitation period from the time they received advice will expire before the redress scheme starts. This means that it is therefore vitally important that any steelworkers who were advised to transfer out of their BSPS pension in 2016, and have not yet complained about the poor advice they received, are aware that the time period for them to bring a complaint will shortly expire.

Contact our pension mis-selling specialists today

Clarke Willmott has an excellent track record in securing compensation for steelworkers who have lost significant sums of money from receiving negligent advice to transfer their BSPS pension to a personal pension. We are happy to assist any steelworker in obtaining redress either via the FOS or FSCS.

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