Redress Solutions for Individuals who have been advised to transfer out of the British Steel Pension scheme

OAC Redress Solutions offer a comprehensive and reliable calculation audit service supported by our exceptional breadth of experience and renowned reputation within the redress industry.

If you were advised to transfer out of the British Steel Pension Scheme and are expecting to receive compensation then it may be helpful to understand the redress process. Details of this are set out below.

Note that the Regulator is consulting on setting up a consumer redress scheme for people who transferred out of the British Steel Pension Scheme.  More information on their plans is available here CP22/6: Consumer redress scheme for unsuitable advice to transfer out of the British Steel Pension Scheme | FCA.  If the plans go ahead then even if you do not complain, the advice you were given will be reviewed with compensation being paid if necessary. 

Note that if your case is reviewed through the consumer redress scheme then the process will be slightly different to that outlined below.

The redress process

The first stage in the redress process is for you to raise a complaint with the firm that advised you to transfer out.  Details about how you can do this are provided by the regulator here Advice checker: defined benefit pension transfers | FCA

Assuming that your complaint is upheld – either by the advising firm, or on referral to the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) – then the advising firm will need to carry out a redress calculation.  They may choose to outsource this to a third party – typically a firm of actuaries such as OAC.

It can take several months to complete a redress calculation, so the 90 day deadline specified by FOS may be exceeded.

You will then receive a redress offer and you will need to decide whether to accept it. You might want to take advice from an independent actuary to help you decide if the offer you have been made is fair.

It is important to note that OAC will not be able to assist you with a review of your calculation until you have a redress offer.  This is to ensure that we are able to advise you without any conflict arising.

When reviewing your offer, it may be helpful to refer to the guidance provided by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) here about why compensation can vary for people who are part of the same scheme: Defined benefit pension transfers | FSCS

It may also be helpful for you to understand how changes in financial conditions affect redress. This is because redress can change materially from one calculation date to another.  We include a BSPS redress tracker on our quarterly newsletter. “Current Issues in Redress”.  This shows roughly how redress might move from one calculation date to the next.

Note that this tracker only gives an indication of how redress might move, and is not reliable as an indication of the redress that may be appropriate for you because the calculation will be highly sensitive to your specific circumstances.  

Our newsletters are available here Compliance, Financial Services & Actuarial News & Insight | OAC (oacplc.com)

Frequently asked questions

Frequently asked questions for individuals who have had a complaint upheld and are waiting for compensation.

My complaint has been upheld. What should I expect?

If your complaint has been upheld the advising firm will make you a redress offer. 

The advising firm may calculate the redress payment themselves or they may appoint another firm to do the calculation on their behalf.

How long will it take to receive my redress calculation?

If your complaint has been upheld by the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS), you may see reference in the FOS decision letter suggesting that the calculation will be carried out within 90 days. If your complaint has been upheld by the advising firm they should be able to give you an indication of the expected timescales. 

Whilst 90 days might be a reasonable guide, in certain circumstances it could take longer to calculate redress.  This is because it may take some time to obtain the information needed to carry out the calculation. This is particularly the case where it is necessary to contact your current (or former) pension provider. Providing information requested in a timely manner will help speed up the redress process.

What information will I need to provide?

You may be asked to provide information about your pension or your personal circumstances, for example, your marital status and your expected income tax band in retirement. This information will be used in the calculation of the redress due to you. 

I think the redress I have been offered is too low, what should I do?

We would suggest the following steps:

  • Find out who has carried out the redress calculation (e.g. has it been calculated by your pension adviser or has it been outsourced, and if so, to whom). 
  • If the calculation has been outsourced you may be able to use an internet search to establish whether they are experienced in calculating redress in accordance with the regulatory guidance (called FG17/9) and this may give you peace of mind. Remember that firms like OAC who calculate redress are independent of advising firms and are bound by professional requirements to act honestly.
  • Request a copy of the calculation and check the data on which the calculation has been based.
  • If incorrect data has been used in the calculations you can ask for a recalculation. A good example of this would be if an assumption has been made about your marital status or spouse’s date of birth.
  • If you are still concerned you can commission an independent calculation.  However, you should note that this will be at your own cost.  You should also be aware that the pension adviser is not obliged to accept your calculation if it differs from theirs although if errors or omissions are found to have occurred you can request that they be rectified.

How much will an independent loss calculation cost?

OAC can carry out an independent calculation in relation to British Steel Transfers for an estimated £1,000 plus VAT assuming that you are aged under 65 (we will make you aware on submission of your paperwork as to whether the cost will be higher).

If you are able to obtain details of the calculation underlying your offer from the advising firm then we can carry out an audit of the calculation at a cost of £700 plus VAT.  This exercise involves a review of the input data on which the redress offer is based and a review of the value placed on the personal pension.  It does not incorporate a loss calculation.

Please note that OAC cannot provide advice as to whether you should accept or decline an offer and we cannot be held accountable for any decision that you take in this regard.  We recommend that you seek legal advice regarding the potential benefits and disadvantages of accepting an offer.

What information do you need to carry out an independent loss calculation or an audit of my redress offer?

In the first instance would need a copy of your transfer value statement from the British Steel Pension Scheme (ideally including the Time To Choose document), a valuation of your personal pension (at a date to be confirmed by OAC), details of any monies paid into or out of your personal pension since transfer, details of the charges applying on your personal pension (including confirmation of whether any advisor fees are being drawn), details of your marital status and your spouse’s date of birth.  If you have a FOS determination then we would also ask to see a copy of the final decision letter.

In the “Putting things right section” of the FOS letter there is reference to a SERPS adjustment – what is this and how might it affect my calculation?

This wording is used by FOS in their standard decision letter for completeness.  SERPS adjustments should not be relevant for most former members of the British Steel Pension Scheme. 

How long will it take to carry out an independent loss calculation or an audit of my redress offer?

It typically takes 10 – 15 working days from receipt of information and payment of our invoice. 

Does the advising firm have to accept the new calculation if different?

As mentioned above, it is important to understand before you commission an independent redress calculation that your advising firm is not obliged to use your calculation rather than their own. 

What should I do if I want an independent loss calculation or an audit of my redress offer?

You should email casework.team@oacplc.com

As noted above, OAC will not be able to help you until you have a redress offer.

What should I do if OAC have calculated the redress on behalf of the firm who advised me and I have questions about the offer?

In this case you should contact the advising firm. This is because OAC are not able to take instruction from individuals to deal directly with queries.