Pension Freedom 

Guidance body to help pension savers rebuild post-scam pots

Guidance body to help pension savers rebuild post-scam pots

The Pensions Advisory Service (TPAS) has introduced post-scam appointments to help savers in rebuilding their pension pots.

Speaking at a Transparency Task Force seminar yesterday (15 November) in London, Michelle Cracknell, Tpas' chief executive, said the guidance body is working with the Pension Ombudsman in this pilot project.

After the individuals get their termination letter from the ombudsman, they are contacted by Tpas, which will try to help them to see what other options they have, Ms Cracknell said.

She said: "We ask them if they have their full state pension entitlement, if they are making the most of their workplace pension scheme, etc."

The chairman of the Pensions Administration Standards Association (PASA) recently revealed that pension savers have lost more than £1bn to scams.

Margaret Snowdon said "official statistics can really be under reported," since people are reluctant to say that they have been scammed.

The latest data available from the government estimated that £43m has been unlawfully obtained by scammers since April 2014, with those targeted having lost an average of nearly £15,000.

According to data from Xafinity, scammers could be involved in one in 12 pension transfer requests.

Ms Cracknell argued, however, that these appointments aren’t replacing financial advice.

She said: “Some of our existing guidance staff were specifically trained to do these particular appointments.

“It doesn’t go as wide as financial advice. It is really just starting them off to think about what else they can do.

"Our particular area [of interest] is looking at if they are making the most of pensions offered to them.

"Because the worst thing is that they sit there thinking that a £180,000 transfer value is going to pop back in into their assets. It is highly unlikely that it will."

Tpas is also running two other pilot projects on pension scams, with Phoenix Life and an unnamed provider.

With Phoenix Life, the guidance body set up a dedicated scam line for the provider as a last resort to try to stop clients from moving their defined contribution (DC) pensions into potentially fraudulent investments.

maria.espadinha@ft.com

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