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High volumes of pension transfer complaints against IFA S&M Hughes

So far, the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) has paid out over £2million to our clients, and many more claims are expected to follow.

After losing its permissions and the ability to trade on 31 May 2019, S&M Hughes Limited (trading as Crescent Financial) entered liquidation on 4 September 2019. The firm will be wound up and dissolved in due course.

Mis-sold British Steel Pension transfers

S&M Hughes faced a number of complaints having advised numerous steel workers to cash in their final salary pensions and transfer the money into personal pensions, instead of opting for the replacement scheme, BSPS 2 or the Pension Protection Fund. Why was that advice flawed? We, the Government and the Financial Conduct Authority all agree that it is rarely good advice for individuals to give up the right to receive a guaranteed and inflation-proofed income, paid for life, where none of the risk falls on the individual. Those benefits, and the peace of mind that comes with them, were lost when our clients were advised to transfer into a personal pensions.

The liquidation is not the end of the road for those advised to transfer their pensions; former clients of S&M Hughes are expected to be able to make pension mis-selling claims to the FSCS in the near future for compensation of up to £85,000. The actual compensation awarded will depend on the FSCS’s complex calculation of each individual’s losses, however, there have been issues with those calculations and the pay outs of over £2m to our clients would have been much less had we not challenged those issues.

In one case, for example, we secured compensation of over £40,000 for our client when the FSCS had initially awarded him nothing. There have been, and remain, issues with the FSCS calculations which we continue to challenge on our clients’ behalf. Philippa Hann, who leads our dedicated pension transfer team, meets regularly with the FCA and the FSCS and, alongside Al Rush of Echelon Wealthcare, continues to fight for all steel workers to be fully and properly compensated.

If you have any questions about the FSCS, or your pension transfer, please contact Laura Robinson on 0345 209 1074 or email


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