“PENSIONS sharks” who target and prey upon their victims by offering poor advice should be dealt with more vigorously.

That is the view of Blaenau Gwent MP Nick Smith who demands tougher action against rogue advisors who took advantage of the restructuring of the British Steel Pension Scheme in 2017.

Two years ago, when the scheme began reorganising, members were faced with a deadline by which they had to make the choice of either transferring out of that system or not.

Mr Smith has said that amid the uncertainty caused by this situation, “pensions sharks soon began to circle around key steelworking sites across south Wales and the rest of the country”.

He has been calling for police forces to investigate rogue advisors who offered bad advice and mis-sold pensions.

The Labour MP wrote to the Treasury for information on what action the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has taken against tackling the firms and people responsible.

Mr Smith has said the response he received, from Economic Secretary to the Treasury John Glen, revealed that enforcement action has been taken against 15 businesses and individuals for “pensions misconduct” by the FCA in the last five years.

The letter also revealed that the FCA is currently investigating 30 unnamed individuals and firms for poor pension transfer advice and scams which have put pension pots at risk.

Mr Smith said he believed the response raised more questions than answers and called for tougher action from the FCA.

He said: “The FCA needed to be far more aggressive in rooting out rogue advisors and protecting pensions. Fifteen enforcement actions in five years just isn’t good enough.

“The fact that there are now 30 investigations under way is a sign that the FCA are starting to improve their game and that is long overdue.

“But this now needs to be properly seen through; rogue advisors have to face serious penalties – up to and including criminal prosecution where there is sufficient evidence.”

Last month, when leading a parliamentary debate, Mr Smith said cases where pensions were mis-sold were actually “complicated cases of fraud”.

To date, he revealed, the Financial Compensation Services Scheme has paid out £1.8 million to steelworkers who were affected.