The British Steel pension scandal has been going on for years now, with growing numbers of financial firms coming under fire for their mis-selling practices. The latest IFA to get caught up in the situation is Bartholomew Hawkins, who have now been declared in default.
Here’s further information about what happened, and what to do if you think you’ve been mis-sold to.
The scandal – a brief overview
Back in 2017, around 43,000 of British Steel’s employees were invited to transfer their existing DB pensions to a new plan, which was called BSPS II. Alternatively, they could choose to stick with their current pension, which would then be moved to the PPF (Pension Protection Fund).
After seeking financial advice, several workers chose to transfer. This was partly due to the cheap deals being offered to them by Celtic Wealth Management & Financial Planning, an introducer company (who were unregulated).
Many of these employees lost money as a result of swapping to a new pension plan, which led to the FCA launching an investigation. Several of the financial firms involved were then forbidden to offer DB pension transfer advice, and many of them collapsed as a result.
Bartholomew Hawkins – one of the latest to enter default
Bartholomew Hawkins are one of the latest firms to be declared in default, as a result of the advice they offered to British Steel workers. To be ‘in default’ means that the company cannot meet its liabilities.
The firm had voluntarily stopped providing advice on DB pension transfers after the FCA had been in touch, but stated that they’d believed the measure would be ‘temporary’, not permanent. In 2019, it sold its assets and trade to Bartholomew Hawkins Asset Management, which was previously its sister-company.
Bartholomew Hawkins Asset Management was then acquired by Independent Wealth Planners, and continues to trade to this day. As for Bartholomew Hawkins Ltd? It entered liquidation in October 2020, after the Financial Ombudsman upheld a complaint against it.
When will the scandal come to a close?
The situation has been going on for several years now, with increasing numbers of financial firms being declared in default over time. Bartholomew Hawkins weren’t the only ones to be impacted recently; two other firms were also declared in default – Mansion Park and Estate Matters (trading as Pension Matters).
While it’s good news that the financial advisors are being held to account for their actions, it doesn’t solve the key problem – the fact that several British Steel employees have been left out of pocket as a result of receiving poor pension advice.
Have you been mis-sold to?
If you’ve recently transferred your DB pension, ask yourself the following:
- Did your financial advisor explain the new pension product properly to you?
- Did they assess your attitude to risk?
- Did they present you with a full range of options – including sticking with your existing workplace pension?
- Did they explain the risks involved with transferring?
- Did they pressurise you to transfer?
These are all classic signs of pension transfer mis-selling. If you believe you were mis-sold your pension, get in touch with the Goodwin Barrett team. We’ll investigate the situation on your behalf, then let you know if we think you’re eligible to seek compensation. Get in touch with us today by calling 0808 163 1659 today or email email@example.com.