TPR launches pension scams campaign

TPR launches pension scams campaign

The Pensions Regulator has launched a campaign urging the industry to commit to a set of actions to protect savers from scams.

The campaign, launched today (November 10), will see providers, trustees and advisers commit to ensuring that savers are aware of scam tactics before cashing in their pensions, and are informed of any risks when they look to make a transfer.

Firms and providers will agree to regularly warn members of the risk of scams and will encourage those looking to enter drawdown to set up a guidance appointment with The Pensions Advisory Service.

Firms must also be familiar with the warning signs of a scam and should ensure they take appropriate due diligence measures and document pension transfer procedures.

In addition, providers must inform members if a transfer is high-risk and should report any concerns they have about a suspected scam to the relevant authorities.

Trustees, advisers and providers can sign up to the pledge through a dedicated website. 

They will be sent education and resources and a link to online training on stopping scams. 

Signatories can also self-certify they have met the six pledge steps.

Guy Opperman, minister for pensions and financial inclusion, said: “With the new measures in the Pension Schemes Bill and this coordinated 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.”

More than £30m has been reportedly lost to pension scams since 2017, according to complaints filed with Action Fraud, although the figure is likely to be much higher as savers often fail to spot the signs of a scam and don’t know how much is in their pots.

Margaret Snowdon, chair of Pension Scams Industry Group (PSIG), which supports the pledge, said the commitments helped providers and others realise their duties to protect savers.

She said: “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.”

The work and pensions committee is currently carrying out an inquiry on pension scams and how they can be tackled as part of its wider work into the impact of pension freedoms.

Stephen Timms, chairman of the WPC, told FTAdviser last month that the committee will "no doubt" have something to say about the Financial Conduct Authority and TPR's actions (or lack of them) when it comes to preventing scams.