Farce and contrition as the FCA make an effort

From what I gather from those who attended CA’s session this week on the Consumer redress scheme. the event was notable for a degree of contrition from the FCA that they’d made such a mess of redress so far.

Sadly, they made a mess of sending out the invitations to the steelworkers and most of the letters dated 20th January , arrived on the 25th, the day after the event. An example is below.

This has led to further contrition . The people  helping the steelworkers has been understanding. putting the matter in perspective. This from the steelworkers Facebook pages

The gentleman running ‘BSPS’ within the FCA has issued an unequivocal apology. He phoned today and I know he would have sunk his head into his hands at why such an avoidable own-goal was allowed to happen. The article points to using the Facebook group, but the FCA cannot have its cake and eat it. Not everyone is on Facebook of course, and whilst that might mitigate some of the mistakes, it doesn’t explain it. I am certain that the mistakes which created this were administrative and distinct from those which lead to ‘BSPS’. In isolation, this would have been annoying, in context, it needlessly added fuel to the naked flame of an already highly combustible situation. Time to move on.

The press have picked up on the FCA’s cock-up but this is not the story (other than it shows how low morale must be for this kind of thing to happen).

The much more important story, is the ongoing harassment of complainants against the advice they have received who are receiving derisory offers of settlement from firms who see an opportunity to profit from the general chaos.

The British Steel Action Group (a collective of advisers who will need to pay the redress) are looking to sucker steelworkers (again) into accepting a settlement of anything from £0 to £500 to sign away their right to further compensation. It appears that they have developed a new compensation calculator known as “Congruent” that is programmed to say “no”.

The FCA has picked up on this and is responding by issuing information requests to firms found to be doing this. This is reported in Money Marketing

“We believe that some firms may be seeking to circumvent and undermine the redress scheme by making pre-emptive offers to customers which would bind them to receiving less than they might be entitled to under the scheme.

“We want to understand more about what is going on, which is why we’ve gone to certain firms for information.

“We have been prompted to issue these information requests in response to the market intelligence we have received, not by the legal challenge – and we respect the right to make that challenge.”

How IFAs can consider this kind of behavior within their consumer duty is unclear. What is clear is the guidance being given to uncertain steelworkers by Rich Caddy .

If you have received an offer either without raising a complaint, or the firm has been defending a complaint but all of a sudden wants to make an offer without accepting the advice was unsuitable then please PM me.

In support of today’s FCA

The FCA are under notice of a complaint from up to 600 steelworkers – wrongly advised – about the mishandling of this matter over the last five and a half years. Contrition now , does not wash away the past.

But it is good to see that the FCA are standing up to BSAG and not being cowed by legal threats. It is good to see that they are protecting the interests of those who have or are about to make a complain.

The behavior of the British Steel Action Group is akin to a footballer taking the ball into the corner in the 87th minute and trying to hold out for the last few minutes to the general annoyance of all. It is sheer dog in a manger stuff to protract steelworkers wait for redress.

No doubt BSAG feel they are being picked on and that they’re hard done by, but their advice was the cause of the problem. It is high time that a positive resolution to this interminable redress process was found, I’m pleased to see efforts to do make that happen, not least from the FCA.

But pleas guys, don’t make it any harder than it is. People above process, think how your communications land – and when!

About henry tapper

Founder of the Pension PlayPen,, partner of Stella, father of Olly . I am the Pension Plowman
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