Thousands of British Steel Pension Scheme members miss deadline to decide on future of their savings

By Scunthorpe Telegraph | Posted: 30 Jan 2018

Thousands of British Steel pensioners have failed to meet a deadline to decide on the future of their savings.

The British Steel Pension Scheme (BSPS), which has thousands of members in the Scunthorpe area, last year reported a total membership of around 122,000.

And it has said under 97,000 of them had completed and returned option forms before the deadline of December 22.

Of those who did return the forms, the majority have chosen to join a new scheme set up with the help of cash from Tata Steel UK.

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They included members who wanted to move with the current scheme into one run by the Pension Protection Fund, others who decided to take a transfer payment and members who, despite the best efforts of the scheme's trustee, did not engage in the consultation process for one reason or another.

Those members will remain in the current scheme and will start moving with it into the one run by the Pension Protection Fund from the end of March.


Pensioners pictured leaving the Baths Hall, Scunthorpe following a meeting to explain the new British Steel Pension Scheme options in October last year

Provisional estimates indicate that members transferring to the New BSPS will represent around 80 per cent of the current scheme’s assets and liabilities.

The New BSPS will go ahead only if certain qualifying conditions regarding size and funding level are met. The minimum size criterion has been comfortably exceeded.

The precise funding level will not be known until mid-March, however the trustee remains confident that the initial funding threshold condition will also be met.

Final figures and more detailed analysis is to be made available following completion of the member allocation.

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BSPS trustee chairman Allan Johnston said: "I am pleased that so many scheme members took the time to choose the outcome that was best for them based on their personal circumstances.

"The New BSPS offers benefits that for most members are the same or better than the PPF and around 83,000 members have chosen to switch to the new scheme.

"The PPF provides a valuable safeguard for members of occupational pension schemes and around 39,000 scheme members will remain in the current scheme when it starts its formal PPF assessment period at the end of March unless they take a transfer. Their benefits will be aligned to PPF compensation levels.

"Work is now under way to allocate the members and scheme assets between the new BSPS and the old scheme. Central to this work is the requirement to ensure that, from March 29, pensioner members receive their appropriate pension payment depending on which arrangement they will be moving into.

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"Further information will be provided to all members ahead of the split taking place on March 28."

Some members have requested transfer quotes and can transfer to another pension arrangement instead of switching to the new scheme or moving into the PPF.

Further information can be found on the scheme website at www.bspensionschoose.com

In order to transfer out, members with a valid (i.e. unexpired) transfer quote need to submit all their completed paperwork by February 16, to allow enough time to process and pay the transfer by March 28, although officials say this cannot be guaranteed.

The trustee will be writing to members again in early March to update them on progress.

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