FCA cracks down on steelworker pensions advisers

FCA cracks down on steelworker pensions advisers
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LONDON (Reuters) - Three financial advice firms have stopped giving advice to steelworkers on transferring pension savings from a 15 billion pounds pot into other schemes, the Financial Conduct Authority said on Monday.

The financial services industry watchdog has visited seven financial advisers and asked four more for information.

"As a result of this work three firms have stopped advising consumers on pension transfers," the FCA said in a statement.

"The FCA plans to visit a further six firms this week."

FCA director of strategy and competition, Chris Woolard, was accused by British lawmakers last month of sounding complacent about the potential for scams involving a pot of pensions belonging to steelworkers in Wales and England.

Steelworkers there are being forced to choose between moving to a new pension scheme or joining a pensions lifeboat, the Pension Protection Fund, following the closure of their current pension scheme.

The closure has paved the way for a merger of the Europeansteel operations of Germany's Thyssenkrupp and India'sTata Steel. Pensions "freedom" rules also give workers the option in certain circumstances of cashing in their pension savings via a transfer.

The FCA said it has undertaken a "significant information gathering exercise" to find out which firms have been most active in advising consumers to transfer out of the steelworkers pension pot.

The regulator said it held four seminars in Swansea and Doncaster for advisers who specialise in pension transfers where it set out the standards it expected to be complied with.

(Reporting by Huw Jones; Editing by Greg Mahlich)

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