Nick Smith MP Labour MP for Blaenau Gwent
Having led on this issue for four years now, I pushed for this investigation to take place and I’m glad to see such a strong report setting out the details of this complex and terrible scandal, highlighting where failings have occurred.
This was a perfect storm. New ‘pension freedoms’ and trouble at Tata Steel facilitated a financial feeding frenzy.
Pension sharks swarmed on steelworkers, ripping them off through bad advice.
The government had introduced the requirement of receiving financial advice before transferring out of a scheme and yet most advisers would only get paid if a transfer took place, a financial incentive to recommend transferring out.
These steelworkers were badly let down, left at the mercy of rogue advisers, scammers and shameless introducers without any of the necessary support or advice they needed.
The FCA failed to get a grip on this scandal at the outset, being too focused on what happens in the City of London, missing the large scale rip-offs that were taking place in the kitchens of consumers in South Wales and the north of England.
It was totally unprepared for this scandal, with scarce insight into what was happening in the BSPS. By the time they got involved it was too late.
Over the subsequent four years, communication has been woeful. Not nearly enough was done to make steelworkers aware of their rights to raise complaints and seek compensation.
Not enough has been done to hold those responsible for this scandal to account, not just the advisers but also their introducer cronies who have so far evaded any action.
I believe that many of these instances involved conspiracy and possibly warrant prosecution as criminal cases.
I have been calling for a redress scheme for some time now, as I believe this is the best course of action to put things right for those affected.
This was one of the biggest financial rip-offs of working people in South Wales and other steel-making areas.
There should be no further delays to putting this injustice to bed for the nearly 8000 steelworkers and their families.