The FCA ran a session Saturday (15th July)for steelworkers in South Wales who were concerned they may not have got good advice transferring out of the British Steel Pension Scheme. BBC Radio four spoke to people leaving the event. These are some of the comments.
“Men in there are going to leave with more questions than answers”
“I can’t tell you what a good investment strategy is, it’s something I have no knowledge of, I was relying on my financial adviser to do that for me. Unfortunately over the next 3 or 4 years are going to be difficult because I don’t know if my money is in a good fund or a bad fund – I may suffer this burden for the rest of my life”.
Paul Goldhawk – steel worker – speaking on Paul Lewis’ MoneyBox Live (4 minutes 50 secs onwards)
It seems from what Paul is saying, that only time will tell if his decision to invest as he did will prove a good one.
Another steelworker , Keith Gladwyn, went to a meeting with the FCA wanting to find out what the definition of bad advice was. Keith left the presentation with lingering doubts.
Two years after the problems arose, the advice that Al Rush and I saw at first hand in the Tai Bach rugby club, is still under investigation by the FCA and steel men are still waiting for clarity.
If the only way Paul and Keith can get that clarity is by waiting to see if the money runs out, then they are being failed by the people who are advising him but those who regulate those advisers.
Al Rush is from Port Talbot, he grew up there. He fought for his country in the RAF and retrained as an IFA. Now he is spending his days back where he grew up with people who he knows and know him.
I spoke with him as he walked on the Aberavan beach yesterday morning. His life is now focussing on the needs of the 1000 + steelworkers he estimates have been led down the wrong garden path in South Wales alone.
So intense is Al’s focus that he has had to postpone the planned two day conference at the Aberavan Beach Hotel.
As I spoke with Al – people were coming up to him, asking for his help and wishing him luck for his appearance on MoneyBox later that day.
You can hear Al speaking later in the MoneyBox program (from 11.50). He reports the frustration of the advisers who were in the meeting with the FCA that Paul Goldhawk and Keith Gladwyn were referring to.
“They feel that one or two doors have opened , but behind those doors there are more doors”.
Redress and justice.
Working with the lawyer, Phillipa Hann, Al is helping those who clearly have been scammed to get some redress. The amount of redress is typically £35,000, Paul Goldhawk estimates he will be paying over £100,000 in adviser fees alone – till he gets to retirement.
Later in the Moneybox program, a very competent investor is heard struggling to understand how her attempt to get out of Woodford’s World Equity Fund , 72 hours before the fund was gated, was not actioned till it was too late. She will have to suffer the impact on the fund of the markets and her net asset value to take away will be calculated when the gating is lifted.
If a self-investing person with high financial capability is so at the mercy of the markets, is it any wonder that the steel men feel unsure.
In this world of their’s , Al Rush represents the omnipresent force of good that is acting for them.
It needs to be said, the FCA are not fulfilling that role, nor the advisors. The financial system is currently letting down the steel men by being too slow and by refusing to take responsibility either for what has happened or for what is happening.
I strongly feel there can be no redress or justice for the Port Talbot steel men without Al Rush.
What can we do?
The noblest response to the Moneybox programme was made before it was being broadcast in this tweet.
Mandatory weekend #pensions industry reading.
What the hell have we collectively done to our industry?
Where do you begin to place the blame?
Government? Media? Regulators? IFAs? Actuaries? Corporate consultants? All of the above? https://t.co/MFaDeA4ckx
— Mike Harrison (@HigherEdActuary) June 15, 2019
Mike, like me, can only ask the questions. Like me, he has no answers, other than to promote the program.
Here are just three of the many tributes paid to Al by Port Talbot steelmen
Al stood up for us, even before we realised we’d made a mistake, were mislead,. A rare individual that stood for us, when everyone else turned away. The company, trustees and other bodies you’d assume would not allow this shameful debacle to manifest itself. A few rogue chancers that would willingly ruin a hard worked future. – Rob Rees- steel man
straight talking down to earth advice if he can help you he will .And will point you in the right direction if you need it . a really genuine guy. – Chris Cook – steel man
When it comes to pension advise especially when transferring your BSPS pension, or isuse around previously transferred pensions Al Rush is one of the most knowledgeable people I know. He along with Philippa Hann has helped dozens of steelworkers win back compensation we wouldn’t have even know we were entitled to. Wayne Tucker – steelman.
I urge anyone who is seriously concerned about raising the standards of pension advice given in this country to support Al Rush in what he is doing.
Thanks Dave Neilly