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Exclusive: British Steel MP Kinnock blasts 'complete failure' of FCA

Regulators 'failed completely' to spot the pension transfer advice dangers that ended up engulfing many British Steel Pension Scheme workers last year, according to Labour MP Stephen Kinnock.

  • The MP for Aberavon said 'mistrust' of Tata Steel made transferring look more attractive to steelworkers.
  • Steelworkers needed 'a one-stop shop' to help them understand their options and assess approaches from advisers.
  • Instead steelworkers were 'passed from pillar to post' and 'bamboozled'. 

Kinnock's Aberavon constituency is the location of the flagship Port Talbot steelworks.

In 2016 Kinnock went to the Mumbai headquarters of British Steel's owner Tata for crisis talks. At the time Tata was threatening to shut its UK business.

In January 2017 a sale was averted when a deal was struck, on the condition Tata could offload its £15 billion pension scheme.  

As the local MP, Kinnock has been engaging with both the pension scheme's trustees and local steelworkers throughout the saga. He wrote to Financial Conduct Authority chief executive Andrew Bailey in December, when it became clear steelworkers might be receiving unsuitable advice to transfer out of the scheme. 

'What was the FCA doing from January to the Autumn, when this scandal broke?' said Kinnock. 'The minute that deal was voted through that should have rung all sorts of bells at the FCA.'

One group of steelworkers, advised by collapsed IFA Active Wealth (UK), is now weighing a group legal action to recoup their funds. 

In the first part of an exclusive interview with New Model Adviser®, Kinnock lambasts the FCA and The Pensions Regulator (TPR) for not anticipating so many steelworkers would want to transfer out.

Kinnock says the FCA and TPR should have put measures in place to ensure workers were fully informed before being forced to make such a life-altering decision. 

Listen to our podcast interview with South Wales adviser Ray Adams, and his firsthand account of the BSPS saga as it unfolded below.

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