Redress on the horizon? NAO begins probing FCA’s handling of British Steel transfer debacle
The investigation is still in its early stages, but the audit watchdog said that it aims to publish its findings in Spring next year.
The 2017 scandal involved 7,700 British Steel Pension Scheme (BSPS) members receiving advice to take their funds out of the pensions scheme – which they took.
“The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), which regulates independent financial advisors, has identified that many steelworkers received unsuitable advice, and may have made poor financial choices and lost significant sums of money as a result,” the NAO said in a statement today. “It has encouraged them to revisit the advice they received and complain if they have concerns.”
The NAO added that its probe plans to support steelworkers who may be entitled to financial redress and work out how much compensation they may receive.
At the beginning of the year, MPs accused the FCA of being “unfit for purpose” over its inability to help wronged consumers in the wake of the scandal.
Labour MPs Stephen Kinnock and Nick Smith wrote to FCA boss Nikhil Rathi to accuse the organisation of being “characterised by organisational drift and bureaucratic inertia”.
The pair represent constituents working for British Steel that lost life savings after “bad actor” advisors told them to transfer out of the company’s pension scheme.
The FCA has again been in hot water recently, after it was revealed last week that the watchdog had racked up more than 400 complaints regarding its handling of the £237m London Capital & Finance (LCF) investment scandal.
Many of the complaints from investors circle the FCA’s decision to pay redress just a handful of those who had been short-changed as a result – including many of the elderly who had put their life’s savings into LCF’s high risk bonds.