Combat Pensions Scam pledge

The pensions industry had been called on to publicly pledge to combat pension scams.

Providers, trustees and administrators are urged to help protect savers thinking of cashing in their pensions by ensuring they can spot the warning signs of a scam and are informed of any risks when they look to make a transfer.

The pension Industry is also challenged to become educated about current scam tactics and adopt best practice transfer due diligence. The Pensions Regulator (TPR) has also launched an online interactive training module it expects all trustees and providers to follow to keep savers safe.

The pledge to combat pension scams campaign is being launched by TPR, supported by the Pension Scams Industry Group (PSIG), to stop scammers in their tracks.

More than £30 million has been reportedly lost to pension scammers since 2017, according to complaints filed with Action Fraud. Scammers target pension pots big and small, with reported losses ranging from under £1,000 to as much as £500,000 per saver. While the average victims are men in their fifties, evidence shows they can happen to anyone. Savers often fail to spot a scam and don’t know how much is in their pots.

Executive Director of Frontline Regulation at TPR, Nicola Parish, said: “Pension scams devastate lives. As the first line of defence for savers, trustees and pension providers have a vital role to play in beating the people behind these despicable crimes. “

“Scammers are targeting pension pots big and small and so I call on the industry to do its bit and make the pledge to help prevent people losing a lifetime of savings.”

Minister for Pensions and Financial Inclusion, Guy Opperman, said:

“With the new measures in the Pension Schemes Bill and this co-ordinated approach, I am confident that we can stop the callous crooks who rob people of their retirement savings.

“I would encourage all pension providers, trustees and administrators to pledge their commitment to this campaign and help do their bit to crack down on pension scams.

“This initiative will also give these industry leaders a chance to step up ahead of the legislative protections outlined in the Bill.”

“The pensions industry has a duty to protect its members from the devastating impact of scammers”

“The pledge to combat pension scams is a great step in raising standards in anti-scam practice. It seeks to make the industry more accountable for pension scams and encourages confidence in implementing the practices set out in the PSIG Code that will lead to greater protection for members.

“The pledge to combat pension scams is a great step in raising standards in anti-scam practice. It seeks to make the industry more accountable for pension scams and encourages confidence in implementing the practices set out in the PSIG Code that will lead to greater protection for members.

“I ask the industry to support the pledge and take action to raise awareness of the risks of scams, educate yourselves about evolving tactics and protect members through appropriate due diligence measures.”

Executive Director of Enforcement and Market Oversight at the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), Mark Steward, said:

“Pension scammers can destroy a lifetime of saving for a comfortable retirement, so preventing scammers succeeding in the first place is the way to go.

“Pension trustees and providers can play their part in helping savers to be ScamSmart by signing up to the pension scam pledge, ensuring they know the warning signs of a customer who’s being scammed, and carrying out appropriate due diligence on pension transfer requests.”

Meeting the pledge

This campaign launch is the latest action to beat scams. Those that make the pledge to combat pension scams will agree to:

  1. Regularly warn members of the risk of scams.
  2. Encourage those requesting cash drawdown to call The Pensions Advisory Service for free, impartial guidance.
  3. Learn the warning signs of a scam and best practice for transfers.
  4. Take appropriate due diligence measures and document pension transfer procedures.
  5. Clearly communicate concerns to members if high-risk transfers must be made.
  6. Report concerns about a scam to the authorities and communicate this to the scheme member.

Trustees, advisers and providers can sign up to the pledge through the TPR website. They will use our resources and online education tools to understand what they can do to protect savers. Pledgers can also self-certify they have met the six pledge steps.

PAYadvice.UK 10/11/2020

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