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Pension advice firm fined £2.4m by Financial Conduct Authority


Company which advised people to give up their valuable pensions fined nearly £2.4m by Financial Conduct Authority

A company which advised people to give up their valuable pensions has been fined nearly £2.4m by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). 

Pembrokeshire Mortgage Centre (PMC), trading as County Financial Consultants, gave unsuitable advice to consumers to transfer out of the British Steel Pension Scheme (BSPS) and other defined benefit pension schemes. 

It advised a total of 420 people, nearly two-thirds of whom were BSPS members, on whether to transfer out of their defined benefit scheme. 

Bad advice: The FCA's view is that most people should keep the guaranteed income provided by a defined benefit pension which guarantees a certain level of income

Bad advice: The FCA’s view is that most people should keep the guaranteed income provided by a defined benefit pension which guarantees a certain level of income

Overall, 93 per cent were advised to transfer, earning PMC more than £2m in transfer and advice fees. 

The FCA’s view is that most people should keep the guaranteed income provided by a defined benefit pension which guarantees a certain level of income. 

The average transfer value was around £293,000, or £314,000 for BSPS members. 

The Financial Services Compensation Scheme has upheld 213 pension transfer claims against PMC and paid out more than £13.3m in compensation. 

The FCA issued a fine of £2.4m. PMC is currently in liquidation. 

Mark Steward, at the FCA, said: ‘PMC advised hundreds of consumers to give up valuable defined benefit pensions without any adequate justification or rationale, using generic, templated advice not tailored to the specific circumstances of their customers while earning fees in doing so. 

‘The quality of advice seen here was woeful.’

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