The imagination of Al Rush is stirred by deeds of the RAF so I smiled to see this Facebook post.
Being on the other side of the planet, I had not picked up on this press release from the FCA.
The FCA is looking into the suitability of the advice that firms gave to members of the British Steel Pension Scheme (BSPS). We want to ensure that former members of the scheme know about their rights to make a formal complaint to the Financial Ombudsman Service, which is free and independent. The Ombudsman considers complaints from customers, can award compensation of up to £150,000 and its decisions are legally binding.
Any former BSPS member who was given financial advice to transfer out of the BSPS, and is unsure if the advice was suitable, should make a complaint. Firstly, they should make the complaint to the firm that provided the advice. The firm should give them a formal response within 8 weeks. If complainants do not get a response within 8 weeks, or don’t agree with the response, they should contact the Financial Ombudsman Service(link is external) to refer the complaint to them.
We remind all regulated advice firms that we expect them to keep their Personal Indemnity Insurance (PII) provider updated about any claims that are being made. Firms are responsible for ensuring that they adhere to the terms and conditions of their PII agreement.
We are closely monitoring firms that are, or have been, active in this sector – particularly those that have been involved in BSPS transfers. We will share any further information as soon as we can.
Here at last is the firm and unequivocal action that was needed in the autumn of 2017.
It is not an exaggeration to say that Al Rush has pretty well single handedly seen this campaign to its current position – he is the architect and leader of the dambusters!
When a dam breaks.
Anyone who has seen the final half hour of the Dam Busters can’t but remember what happened as the waters from the dams roared down the Ruhr.
There will be collateral damage, not just to the IFAs and their PI insurers but to the providers of SIPPs and the investment vehicles those SIPPs used. Those not tied down and rooted in probity will be swept away like the Ruhr railways.
This damage is essential to the proper functioning of a retail driven pension system. It is purgative.
But it is also critical to our trust in regulators. What Al’s work at Port Talbot has done is to change regulatory behaviours – especially the behaviour of the FCA – and I think it is for the better.
We shouldn’t forget that at the original W&P Select meeting on pension freedoms – dealing with transfers – Al was not allowed to attend. His offence was to jokingly joust with the FCA accredited Darren Reynolds on Twitter .
Al learned from that and the temperance of his behaviour these days has not suppressed his huge energy and courage.
The corrective value of journalism
Around 18 months after halting the activities of 10 advisers involved in pension transfers to ‘000s of BSPS members, the FCA has issued a message, via its website, urging people to complain if they are concerned their transfer advice was unsuitable.
— Josephine Cumbo (@JosephineCumbo) March 1, 2019
Jo Cumbo’s constant chivying has been the amplification Al needed. Her paper -the FT – has trusted Jo to pursue this story over 18 months. Without the threat of being Cumboed, many of the participants in skulduggery would have unashamedly “bamboozled” their way to personal gain through the destruction of solid retirement planning , constructed over years.
The corrective power of Cumbo is awesome.
The self-correcting processes that give us hope
It’s all too easy to let the flame go out, to give up on the hope for good in the face of what seems like impossible odds against.
Al Rush, Jo Cumbo – alongside offshore campaigners such as Angie Brooks and David Lean, ensure that the self-correcting processes of a properly regulated pension sector work.
There are still huge disappointments, especially in the world of offshore investments where the self-correcting process is slower and weaker.
But the FCA statement shows – that given patience – the system will correct itself. Providing that people can be brave enough to whistleblow against injustice.
Thanks to Al Rush for all he is doing and has done, I have no doubt he will finish the job.