How to avoid pension scams

Doug Rice
Doug leads the employee benefits consultancy team at Jelf, specifically focusing on meeting the rising demand for effective UK and international employee benefits management programmes. In addition, he heads up the international Mercer Marsh Benefits team and is Chair of the Jelf & MMB joint venture. Doug has over 20 years’ experience in the employee benefits sector, having previously worked for Medic4all, Cigna and Bupa.

In March 2014 the then Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, announced a major alteration to the structure of UK pension savings. This fundamental change to the fabric of savings allowed many older savers to access their retirement funds in much more flexible ways than the traditional purchase of an annuity income for life. This change in legislation became known as Pension Freedoms.

The introduction of Pension freedom has been largely welcomed by the media, savings industry, and (of course) savers themselves. Unfortunately the appeal of this option has also proved irresistible to criminals who recognise a new opportunity to separate savers from their retirement funds.

The scale of the criminal activity in this area is not yet fully known, but it is clear that a variety of sophisticated scams are already taking place with many individuals being swindled out of some or all of their pension savings. 

Employers are therefore encouraged to alert their older workers to these significant dangers, and also signpost them towards regulated advisers or government bodies to ensure that their employees avoid the scammers and receive the best possible information and advice.

Some websites that may be of use for employers and employees alike are listed below:

The Pensions Regulator:  Protect yourself from scammers
Pension Wise:  How to avoid a pension scam
Financial Conduct Authority:  Pension review scams

The above sites contain useful hints to identify, avoid, and report pension scams.

For more information on how we can support employers with identifying pension scams please contact our Workplace Pensions team.

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