Two firms which have ceased advising members of the British Steel Pension Scheme following visits from the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) have said they hope to return once inquiries have concluded.
At a Work and Pensions Select Committee hearing yesterday, the FCA revealed that both Pembrokeshire Mortgage Centre and Leicestershire-based Mansion Park had joined Active Wealth (UK) in voluntarily surrendering their pension transfer permissions, in light of widespread concern about advice given to members of the British Steel Pension Scheme.
Both firms told New Model Adviser® that they were cooperating fully with the FCA and hoped to use the inquiries to improve their businesses.
A spokeswoman for Mansion Park said: 'We can confirm that Mansion Park recently had a visit from the FCA regarding the business we have carried out for British Steel employees.
'Following this meeting we voluntarily resigned our defined benefit permissions whilst we await the FCA written feedback. Early indications are that some of our implementation processes may need to be reviewed and strengthened.
'However, we do strongly believe that the advice we have given to our clients has always been well considered and suitable. We will implement any procedural changes recommended by the Financial Conduct Authority to further improve the integrity of our business and to give peace of mind to our clients.'
Mansion Park also asserts that it has only ever recommended that clients invest in regulated funds with 'well-established mainstream UK-based pension providers which are recognised as household names'.
A spokeswoman for Pembrokeshire Mortgage Centre said the firm will continue to cooperate with the regulator. She said: 'In order to assist with the inquiries and at the request of the FCA, Pembrokeshire Mortgage Centre voluntarily offered to suspend its permission to conduct pension transfer advice, it does not expect this to be irrevocable.
'It is confidently expected that Pembrokeshire Mortgage Centre will be shown to have acted properly and correctly at all times and looks forward to the FCA completing its inquiries in the near future.'
The firm also denied that it had any association with either Active Wealth or introducer Celtic Wealth Management, nor any other unauthorised introducer firms.
The directors of both Active and Celtic were due to appear before the committee yesterday, but declined the invitation at late notice.
FCA executive director of supervision Megan Butler also revealed that a fourth firm is in the process of cancelling its permissions, but could not yet reveal its identity.