A time for calm, cool heads and action.

time to choose

Time to Choose extended to December 22nd

This blog is for members of BSPS , their families and friends, who have yet to choose their options and need help. It outlines the large number of places you can go for help and the big message is to calm and cool over the next few days. You need to have an option form and it needs to get to British Steel by the deadline.

It’s Christmas. Get your form in the post well in advance of the 22nd. BSPS will write to you confirming they’ve got your form within 10 working days of getting the form.

In the final days before the deadline for BSPS members to choose their ongoing pension providers, it’s worth pointing out that the decision to be taken by December 22nd is a simple one.

sun backss red alert 2

The choices with how one member chose.

As I have written here, the PPF can be the right choice (if you have special needs for a pension starting earlier than normal or you want more tax free cash), but generally you will get more from BSPS2 if you are a pensioner or a typical steel worker.

BSPS offers a dedicated website for those with Time to Choose and behind it there is the site of the British Steel Pension Scheme itself

Help from the Sun

Thankfully the Sun is giving steelworkers good advice.

Sun backs red alert

Help from TPAS

If you haven’t made a decision and sent back the option form pictured above, your pension is heading into the Pension Protection Fund on March 29th. If you are unsure of what to do you should take the Pensions Advisory Service offer and give them a ring on 020 7932 9522.  The TPAS helpline is independent of BSPS and Tata and funded by the tax-payer.

Call the number for response hours, or you can use TPAS’ 24 hour enquiry form. TPAS also offer web-chat (if you’re in the silent carriage and you can even speak to one of their people using a web-video link.

Michelle Cracknell tells me they want you to phone!


Help from BSPS guidance helpline

Alternatively you can call the guidance helpline offered by BSPS which is on If you’re a pensioner, phone 0808 168 8709 (or +44 (0) 1206 585 361 if you’re calling from outside the UK).

If you’re not a pensioner, phone 0800 085 7264 (or +44 (0) 113 823 1344 if you’re calling from outside the UK).

Lines are open Monday to Friday, 9am to 8pm, until 22 December 2017.

When you call the helpline, please tell them your member reference number on your option form.

I spoke to the person in charge of this helpline yesterday, his team are tired but proud of what they are doing and they want your calls!

Help from Chive

For people who are looking beyond the choices in the form above, there is Chive. Chive consists of a group of nearly 100 qualified financial advisers who are giving guidance and help to those who have transferred, are in the process of transferring or are thinking about the transfer option.

Chive is currently operating in many towns where a lot of current and former steelworkers live or work. If you want to have a meeting with a Chive counsellor in Port Talbot, there is a booking form here.  If you want a meeting elsewhere there is a full list of towns covered and further booking forms linked to them. You can also  contact Alastair Rush using advice@yourwealthcare.co.uk .


Help on Facebook.

The two principle Facebook pages which help members are for BSPS deferred members and for pensioners,

I am heartened by the quality of chat and the warmth and positivity of those in the Group towards the page founders and moderators. Here’s a typical comment from a steel man in Rotherham.

Well, just put calculator down, my brain is now fried, but I am 99% certain that it’s ppf for me. Would like to thank Rich and Stefan for their help via email and pm, it’s been a godsend. Ppf definitely better than bsps 2 for early retirement and lump sum and transferring is not for me

You can call the British Steel Pension Scheme directly

This really isn’t a good idea if you can possibly help it and should only be tried as a last resort after going down all other avenues. These people are working flat out processing forms and your call is probably going to make delays worse


Email Pension.enquiries@tatasteel.com
Telephone 0330 440 0844
Writing from the UK
(No need for a stamp)
British Steel Pension Scheme
G2 7BW
Writing from outside the UK British Steel Pension Scheme
105 Waterloo Street
G2 7BW
United Kingdom



The number for calling the Pensions Transfer helpline at the pensions office from outside the UK is 0141 274 2250.

Pay attention to your pension.

Whatever you do , now is the time to pay attention to the pension. Thanks to the good works of many people, you won’t have to do it alone and the decision you have to make by December 22nd is very simple, do you want to head for PPF or BSPS2.

If you have already completed your transfer out of BSPS, you can of course ignore 22nd December. You now have the job of managing your pension fund yourself and that is another story. You must pay attention to your pension more than anyone.


Get moving!

About henry tapper

Founder of the Pension PlayPen,, partner of Stella, father of Olly . I am the Pension Plowman
This entry was posted in pensions and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

13 Responses to A time for calm, cool heads and action.

  1. Ian Brewer says:

    Henry this is all good stuff thank you – The link doesn’t work for the Rugby club event do you know when it starts?

  2. henry tapper says:

    5.30 I believe, I think it is targeted at BSPS members

  3. david miles says:

    Thanks Henry
    if youve signed to transfer but have yet to receive the money is it to late to change your mind ?

    • henry tapper says:

      No – almost certainly not. You should contact your IFA at once and stop things. Or speak to Al .

      • david miles says:

        Thanks Henry. i was 100 % convinced a transfer was the right way to go but with all the anti transfer talk about, im starting to waver.

  4. Sunil Chadda says:

    Dear Henry,

    I have been reading your commentary on this every day.

    Well done for looking after the BSPS members. It is brilliant.

    Kind Regards,

    Sunil Chadda

    Get Outlook for Android

  5. Peter Crowley says:

    If you get shafted – its your own fault. No regulator will help you!!!1
    Tske note!!!

  6. henry tapper says:

    actually that may not be the case here Peter, we have seen both the FCA and the Pensions Regulator taking a great deal of interest in the situations steel-workers find themselves in. They must be careful not to focus all the resource on one area, but the problems of steelworkers are acute and localised making them ideal for intervention.

    • Iain PW says:

      The big issue many BSPS members are facing is that they cannot obtain timely, accurate advice on the key matters as the quality of the BSPS/ BSPS2 information suplied (or missing) is dreadful – making a truthful Pension Transfer Value Analysis Report impossible to produce.
      All the BSPS members can see is the clock for their ‘enhanced’ (less 5%) BSPS guaranteed transfer value dissapearing whilst many around them are finding advisers with ‘waivers’ and inaccurate TVA Reports willing to help them jump immediately. Dreadful. The winding up of the Scheme needs to be put back to mid-2018 and the CETV guarantee dates need extending for a further 90 days (or even longe on the basis that BSPS seem inept andunable to provide the oinformation requested of them). Urgent regulatory intervention is needed into the BSPS adminstration.

  7. Iain PW says:

    A relative asked me to look at all the options for them and 3 friends – all with deferred pensions with BSPS. We are pension transfer specialists but have run into a significant problem. We are unable to produce accurate and meaningful Transfer Value Analysis Reports (TVAR) as quite simply the information isn’t there (incorrect splits/slices/tranches/no breakdown or, in 1 case, the entire BSPS 2 (‘the new scheme’) pension splits missing in error from member pack) nor have requests for correct information been met by BSPS. Complaints agiants BSPS are lodged.
    We did approach leading compliance firm Threesixty Services whom recommended that no guessing or proportioning of benefits should take place when looking at the TVAR. We must wait for the correct numbers.
    In the meantime the members, whom have lost all trust in BSPS and BSPS 2 are ‘freaking out’ and in one case suggesting they do these high risk transfers ‘execution only’ (without advice) and / or as an ‘insistent customer’ (where advice is not to transfer out to a personal pension but for some reason the ‘customer’ still wants to do this!). We will have no truck with these types of transactions but there seems no shortage at alk of unscupulous financial advisers waiting with open arms to carry out the transfer to a personal pension and trying to dodge both the initial and ongoing responsibility. The trouble is I suspect these ‘insistent’ transactions will be ultimately reviewed by the UK regulator (the FCA) and the bill for the (lack of) advice failings will fall on the rest of the advice community via claims on the FSCS and higher PI costs.
    The whole matter is an utter failure of pension scheme adminstration/communication by BSPS and the less scupulous financial advisers out there seem to see the stressed out BSPS members as an ‘easy target’.

  8. henry tapper says:

    I do sympathise, Having read Stefan Zait’s submission to the W&P Select, I’m pretty sure that these matters will be brought up in oral evidence on Wednesday. The question is what lessons we can learn for next time.

  9. Mike says:

    Has the venue for the Port Talbot CHIVE sessions been confirmed yet? I couldn’t find this info on Al’s site.

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