Though it’s a truism – it’s true. You cannot understand the break down in the orderly provision of pensions that is occurring in Port Talbot, until you go there.
I did not go to Port Talbot yesterday, there was a need for professional reporters (Jo Cumbo) and professional advisers (Al Rush ). There was a need for witnesses to verify what Al and I had seen earlier.
Eugen is not being sensationalist, you can sense in the simple words he is using that he has been shocked as a professional adviser but more as a sympathetic person.
Jo Cumbo’s reporting throughout the day emphasised the vulnerability of people who have been given plenty of advice but little support.
— Josephine Cumbo (@JosephineCumbo) November 30, 2017
Two tweets responses from Chris Sier are worth quoting. The first is to Jo Cumbo
The second to himself
That something is going very wrong cannot be in doubt. What’s needed now is sound practical advice to steelworkers on what to do.
This is Michelle Cracknell’s response, which I count as definitive. If you are an adviser and know steelworkers who have yet to take a decision or have taken a decision and are unsure. Please cut and paste what sits beneath the line and text, e-mail or just print it out and give it them.
It is not too late to change things. The FCA have taken steps to stop Darren Reynolds and Steelworkers still have the first 11 days of December to make or remake their choice.
Steelworkers in peril
Steelworkers are in peril as the deadline for members of the British Steel Pension Scheme is fast approaching and many of the members are yet to return their option form.
Members of the British Steel Pension Scheme must make a decision about their pension by11th December 2017. Each member has received an options pack and must decide whether to:
- remain in the current scheme, which moves into the Pension Protection Fund;
- move to the new British Steel scheme – BSPS2; or
- transfer to a private pension.
Many Steelworkers are struggling to make a decision and feel nervous, angry and distrustful of the scheme. Some members have been vocal on social media about the issues that they are facing. There are reports that a number of opportunist financial advisers and unregulated introducers who, for their own financial gain, have been plaguing the members to use their services by inviting them to “chicken in a basket” suppers. There are some very good financial advisers who can go through the options available to you and make a recommendation.
Only use financial advisers who are regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority to conduct this type of work and be prepared to pay them a fee.
For those who have made a decision, the agony is not over. The administration of the British Steel scheme has been under immense pressure with the volumes of questions being asked of them and members are reporting that there has been no acknowledgement of receipt of their option forms. Further confusion has been created by the address given on the option form being different to that given on the pre-paid envelope.
The pension scheme has said that forms will be processed no matter which of the addresses it was sent to.
If you are a member of the British Steel scheme, here is a checklist.
Spot the scam –
- With all the publicity surrounding the British Steel scheme, the scammers are targeting members with the promise of investments such as hotels in Cape Verde, with promises of returns of 8% per annum or more. Be very wary of anyone who approaches you out of the blue with a proposal of how you can transfer your money out of the scheme to invest in a high risk, high charging and unregulated investment that promises high returns.
- Proceed with Caution –
Ask questions –
- Your pension is very valuable. You may be feeling very confused about the options. It is really important that you do choose an option so that you know what pension you will have. A good place to start is to contact The Pensions Advisory Service. TPAS is a publicly funded organisation that has pension specialists who can talk members through their options. It has a dedicated and free helpline for British Steel pension members is 0207 932 9522.
Mind your money –
- If you are considering transferring out of the scheme (option 3), be prepared for the ongoing work that is needed for managing your own pension fund. Even when you have an adviser who you are paying to look after your pension, you will need to meet with the adviser regularly to review your pension and make decisions about investments and level of income that you want to take out. You will have to pay a fee for this service and you will have to spend your time.
Proceed with Caution –
However angry you are about the British Steel situation, the options of going into the Pension Protection Fund or the BSPS2 scheme may result in you having a lower pension but the pension is still guaranteed.
A guaranteed income is very valuable. You do not have to worry about investments going up or down. So give careful thought before giving it up. Once you have transferred out, you cannot go back into the scheme.