One man’s solution to his problems with “pension freedoms”

David Neilly is a steelworker who has represented Port Talbot members of BSPS at Parliament.

David stef

David Neilly ; centre picture


His words count; we talk of a  pensions “industry” but this is from a man of Ravenscraig and Port Talbot. It is published with David’s permission.


Mr Frank Field Chair of the Pension Freedom and Choice Select Committee.

Season greetings to you Chair and the members of the Pension Freedom and Choice Select Committee, In order to quantify the contribution that the BSPS Members make to the UK economy, I am sending this email to you, from my control room in the steelplant in Port Talbot at 25/12/2017, 7am to 7pm day shift.

As the new Pension Freedom and Choice Act takes its infantile steps the current Defined Benefit Schemes must also work towards the flexibility that can be realized from the Pension Freedom and Choice Act. Why aren’t the Defined Benefit pension schemes more flexible in allowing early or partial access to the member’s funds?

We the BSPS members have now found ourselves in a position where the Financial Services Sector are now actively avoiding our requests to transfers. With FCA reducing the amount of qualified practitioners due to client capacity and or non-compliance issues. We now have to go further a field to find an IFA to facilitate a pension transfers transaction request, which increases the likelihood of compliance breaches by financial practitioners.

In order to give the level of protection to the Defined Benefit Scheme members there is a need for a safe haven so members can exercise their Pension Freedom and Choice options. The creations of a single regulatory body to authorize the Defined Benefit transfer transaction; this would work by an IFA requesting a transfer pack from the centralised source. The Defined Benefit transfer pack would contain all the necessary documentation required to facilitate the transfer protocol.

This Authorized body would be responsible for identification, implementation and execution of the Defined Benefit transfer transaction via the Pension Scheme Trustees. As the intermediary, this would lead to improved processing and transparency and help identify the non-compliant practitioners quicker.

By creating this Authorised regulatory body its prime objective would be to highlight the financial practitioners who do a deliberate act entrapment, manipulate, scam, the Defined Benefit Scheme member, and fund-managers who offer artificial enhancements to the introducers, mitigate the rogue factor.

The financial services have enough control measures in place to reduce the likelihood of a repercussion of the red flag events seen with BSPS transfer. In order to further improve the reaction time within the compliance system could the digitization of the Defined Benefit transfer transaction aid the current measure data analysis for identifiable traits for risk adverse products that warrant action by Financial Conduct Authority?

Many Thanks


David Neilly


david n

A Scotsman in Wales!

About henry tapper

Founder of the Pension PlayPen,, partner of Stella, father of Olly . I am the Pension Plowman
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4 Responses to One man’s solution to his problems with “pension freedoms”

  1. Brian Gannon says:

    This is very well intentioned but that really is NOT the answer is it? We really do not need another regulatory body, what we need is for the one we have to show some understanding of what is needed. And the solution to what is needed cannot be provided by a steelworker. British Steel or rather Tata and the Trustees, have failed seismically to give pensioners and deferred pensioners the information, guidance and time needed to learn about the three options open to them. When a scheme with this many thousand members is involved in potentially going into the PPF it needs the regulator, Tata and the Trustees to understand that members need time guidance and information in sufficient quantity and quality to make better decisions. The solution arrived at has failed to provide adequate time information or guidance. No amount of financial advice about transfers out can deal with the shortcomings arising from the failure to offer pensioners and deferred pensioners proper information about the BSPS2 and PPF options. And it simply is not good enough to fail to give personalised information to each member about their pension options. None of this has anything to do with financial advice or financial advisers. This is about good intentions not being backed up by good information. Trustees have failed the members big time. The real issue is the failure of the trustees and regulator to understand that members need more than highly complex written communications about their options. This is the trouble with regulators and trustees, they do not deal with real people enough to realise that communication is NOT best delivered in writing. There is such a failure in the UK of our regulators. There is no excuse for it. Or at least there is no acceptable excuse. Transfers out would NOT be requested by so many members if the trustees did their jobs properly and understood how to look after the members interests. I have read the many blogs and grown increasingly disappointed at the focus on the advice and the payment method for advice, when the problem is much earlier in the process!!!! There should have been a recognition by Tata, the Regulator and the Trustees that staff and pensioner presentations were needed. Presentations given by people like me (not me as I am a Financial Adviser) who have the ability to communicate with people in plain clear SPOKEN English. To put things in English not in Mathematics and pension jargon. Pensioners should also be included, and there should have been many different presentations given in many different locations. Videos should have been made on Youtube and available on pension website/intranet. Written illustrations and technical jargon are all well and good but people have no context about what the three options really are. They probably do not even understand that the scheme funds are not controlled by Tata, and that taking their benefits out of the scheme simply transfers their need to trust from the trustees to a new set of trustees in the Personal Pensions/SIPPs they transfer out to. The reason they don’t understand is that people do not usually take in complex written information. So what is the major shortcoming? It is NOT the financial advice for those potentially transferring out it is instead about communicating the other two options to move to PPF or BSPS2.

  2. Eugen Neagu says:

    There is no such ‘advice gap’ pin defined benefit pension transfers.

    The problem again and again is that people do not want to pay for this service. As I did the Adviser guide for the BSPS, I had a few enquiries from steelworkers, but they seem to be put off by the discounted £1,000 + VAT fee.

    They perceive it as a ‘free’ service, and that’s who they go to the ‘contingency’ renumerates advisers, who in general are less skilled in this area of advice.

  3. henry tapper says:

    The other way of looking at this Eugene, is that if people aren’t prepared for your “advice”, they aren’t prepared for the risks that they’d be assuming if they “went private”. The contingent pricing structures only work one way!

  4. It’s a difficult one. I remember my (raised in France) piano teacher telling me “people in Britain aren’t prepared to pay (to go to a concert) – they’ll buy you a pint, but not pay a fee.”
    It’s the same with financial advice. “My mate in the pub said…”

    That’s why I question the FSA/FCA decision to ban commission. Cultural reasons.

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