Two banned over British Steel Pension Scheme advice failings
Keith Dickinson and Andrew Allen of Mansion Park Limited (in liquidation) have been banned from advising customers on pension transfers and opt-outs. The FCA found that, between June 2015 and December 2017, Dickinson provided unsuitable pension transfer advice, which Allen signed off.
Dickinson and Allen will pay £70,000 and £85,606 respectively to the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) to contribute towards the compensation owed to Mansion Park customers. The FSCS has so far paid out almost £3m in compensation to customers for the unsuitable advice they received, including more than £2m for advice provided by Dickinson.
Four hundred Mansion Park customers were advised to transfer out of their defined benefits transfer schemes. Dickinson advised 135 of them, including 68 members of the British Steel Pension Scheme (BSPS). Those advised by Dickinson had benefits totalling around £36.8m.
The FCA says Allen showed a lack of competence in his oversight of advice for 328 (82%) of those 400 customers, including 72 who were BSPS members. Customers transferring out of the BSPS were in a vulnerable position, the regulator stresses, due to the uncertainty surrounding the future of their pension scheme.
Most of the advice Dickinson provided and Allen signed off was unsuitable because it was based on the flawed assumption that transferring would be in their customer’s best interest. The advice did not assess whether customers relied on income from their defined benefit pension scheme in retirement, whether customers understood the risks of transferring out, or whether they could bear those financial risks.
Therese Chambers, the FCA’s joint executive director of enforcement and market oversight said ‘People turned to Mansion Park to give them vital advice so they’d have financial peace of mind in retirement. Dickinson and Allen failed to do their job and put people’s hard-earned retirement money at risk. It is only right that they contribute to the costs of compensating these people.’
Any customers advised to transfer by Mansion Park should contact the FSCS to see whether they are owed compensation.