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Regulators join forces to address Covid-19 concerns

Regulators join forces to address Covid-19 concerns

The Financial Conduct Authority has teamed up with six pension bodies to create a guide that deals with savers' most common pension concerns during the coronavirus crisis.

The FCA joined forces with the Financial Services Compensation Scheme, Money and Pensions Service, Pensions Ombudsman, The Pensions Regulator, the Pension Protection Fund and the Department for Work and Pensions.

Their 26-page guide outlines all the protections that are in place and directs savers towards free, impartial guidance should they have any questions about their retirement funds.

It includes information on how to avoid scams and whether it is safe to switch pensions at this time as well as what has happened to pension contributions for individuals who have been furloughed.

Minister for pensions and financial inclusion Guy Opperman said: "We’re doing whatever it takes to ensure people are supported through these unprecedented times and this guide is a useful addition to the measures pensions bodies have already taken to assist savers, such as the TPR’s transfer warnings and reporting easements.

"Keeping people informed is vital, and I welcome the coordinated approach being taken by the different pension bodies to assist anyone who needs advice or guidance."

The move comes as both the PPF and FSCS reported an increase in the number of enquiries they have received from concerned pension savers seeking guidance during the Covid-19 pandemic. 

The TPR, FCA and Maps have previously worked together to raise awareness of the risk of opportunistic pension scams at this time.

Christopher Woolard, interim chief executive of the FCA, said: “With current market volatility, it is understandable that some individuals may be concerned about their pension pots and how they are invested. 

“At times like this, it is more important than ever for consumers to seek out proper financial advice before making decisions that could damage their long-term interests.”

Charles Counsell, chief executive of TPR, said: “By working together, all organisations whose goal it is to protect savers are at their most effective, and so I welcome this guide as a useful tool to drive confidence in pensions.

“Among the biggest threats to pensions are scammers, and the guide gives important advice to savers on how to protect themselves, particularly as we battle through the Covid crisis. 

“By helping savers spot the signs of a scam and highlighting where they can get advice, guidance and support, including by telephone and online, we hope to stop scammers in their tracks.”

amy.austin@ft.com

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