British Steel Pension Scheme: Transfers — [Mr George Howarth in the Chair]

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 10:18 am on 10th April 2019.

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Photo of John Glen John Glen Minister of State (Treasury) (City), The Economic Secretary to the Treasury 10:18 am, 10th April 2019

Following our meeting, I undertook to speak to Andrew Bailey, the chief executive. We are due to meet every few months, and our next meeting is imminent. I will speak to him about that. A number of live investigations are under way; I do not have investigative power myself, but I will take a close interest in those investigations. Individual companies—I will not name them—are being actively investigated now, and I expect the FCA to make announcements and recommendations consequent to those investigations imminently. I am not privy to the detail, but I am taking a close interest and will be speaking to the chief executive, because I realise that time is pressing on. This morning we have heard vivid accounts of individuals and families ruined by these decisions, and I take the matter seriously.

To get back to my script, the FCA leads on financial advice and has considerable power to act against firms and individuals who provide negligent advice. To be clear: the FCA can impose a financial penalty on a firm, require the firm to pay redress to its customers, restrict the firm’s permissions, or prohibit individuals from operating in financial services. The FCA can bring criminal prosecutions. I hear the enthusiasm for that action being taken, and I think the FCA hears it too, but it works closely with other organisations to support criminal prosecutions. Both the Government and the FCA are targeting their attention on the effective regulation of financial services and wider work to tackle scams, including the recent implementation of a ban on pensions cold calling.