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

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 9:30 am on 10th April 2019.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Nick Smith Nick Smith Opposition Whip (Commons) 9:30 am, 10th April 2019

My right hon. Friend gets to the nub of the situation. Who does one trust when one has a pot of gold and people want access to it? He poses a really important question. The FCA has got to help our steelworker pensioners and their families.

It can be argued that this was a unique situation, but many of the underlying problems that allowed it to happen are still there. Rogue financial advisers do not face sufficiently tough consequences from the regulators. The FCA’s register has been improved, but consumer information sometimes remains unclear. The support for people who might have been mis-sold pensions is insufficient.

I recognise that some steps have been taken to improve co-ordination between regulators. That is welcome, but much more needs to be done. At the moment, the pension sharks have generally received administrative sanctions only, but I think they need to face serious penalties. Will the Minister scrutinise the effectiveness of the FCA’s enforcement regime? Steelworkers say the FCA needs to impose heavy financial penalties on bad financial advisers. I think it needs to employ its powers much more often, as it seems this has not been done sufficiently.