Aberavon MP Calls Out Government And FCA For Allowing A Free For All Which Has Left Many Steelworkers And Pensioners Worse Off

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Today, Stephen Kinnock has:

  • called for urgent action on pension misselling
  • called out the FCA for failings;
  • urged the government to produce a white paper;
  • and supported Work and Pensions Committee report

Stephen Kinnock, Member of Parliament for Aberavon, home of the Port Talbot Steelworks, today called out the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) for their failure to protect British steelworkers and savers in the British Steel Pension Scheme (BSPS); called on the government to accept, in full, the Work and Pensions Committee recommendations, and urged the government to go further in introducing a system of deemed consent to keep savers in the best scheme for them.

Commenting on today’s report, Stephen Kinnock said:

“The FCA have been asleep at the wheel throughout this whole case, being far too slow to see the obvious risk posed by some of these dodgy financial advisers, and they were far too slow in intervening to crack down on these fraudsters.

“There are clearly some worrying shortcomings at the FCA, and these must be addressed: they still don’t have an online register of advisers, and they knew that over half of the transfer advice being given wasn’t up to their own standards, but even that didn’t ring alarm bells.

“Their failure to act allowed these vultures to swoop in and rip off steelworkers and pensioners, leaving them with insufficient recourse, and so the FCA’s announcement of a review of the process is far too little, far too late.

“The FCA should have been more proactive because, as ever, prevention is always better than cure. The FCA have let down steelworkers, and lessons must be learnt.

“But the government have let steelworkers and pensioners down as well. They allowed the creation of a chaotic and confusing environment of uncertainty into which these fraudulent financial advisors have stepped in.

“This could have been avoided if the government had listened to Trade Unions, myself and other steel MPs, and the BSPS trustees by introducing a system of deemed consent. If they’d allowed BSPS members to be transferred in bulk, where there was actuarial evidence that it was in their financial interests, into the new gold plated scheme then we would have had a much simpler system, one that protected steelworkers and denied dodgy financial advisers the chance to rip off steelworkers.

“Instead the government and FCA have allowed a free for all where many people have been conned into making decisions that are not in their best interests. So as well as improvements in the functioning and enforcement powers of the FCA, the government need to act quickly to build a process that works for pensioners and that protects their interests.”