PASA publishes pre-employment guidance to deter fraudsters

PASA publishes pre-employment guidance to deter fraudsters

The Pensions Administration Standards Association has published guidance on pre-employment checks for administrators, as it has been made aware of fraud cases by employees of these companies.

The industry body stated that in some cases individuals have deliberately gained employment in administrators “with the specific intention of committing fraud”.

The guidance, published by PASA’s cyber crime and fraud working group, aims to support administrators in ensuring pre-employment checks are as effective as possible and in making decisions on the extent of checks required.

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The document details that administrators should start by analysing the level of risk associated with a particular position, with the industry body alerting that the level of seniority should not be the only factor considered.

“It’s possible for individuals in relatively junior positions to have access to key parts of a process,” the guidance stated, giving as an example “information returned by prospective beneficiaries about their identity or bank accounts, or the ability to copy and transfer data — which means there’s a higher level of risk”.

PASA noted that a lot of the information which can be used in a vetting process “can be lawfully obtained from the public domain”.

This can be used to “verify the information provided by the candidate and to check the suitability of the applicant for a position carrying a higher level of risk”, it stated.

The associations of the individual concerned, residency, property, financial and personal information are all sources that can be used to apply verification checks if they are applicable, the guidance added.

Jim Gee, chair of the PASA cyber crime and fraud working group, said: “This guidance indicates the types of checks which can be carried out and the information which can be verified, rather than what should be done in every case.”

He noted that “administrators are responsible for ensuring any checks and vetting are proportionate, necessary and relevant to the level of risk associated with the position being recruited and carried out in accordance with applicable law”.

Gee added: “If you’re unsure of what checks you can legally undertake and what information you can legitimately process as part of your verification process, you should obtain expert legal advice. There are also various professional bodies which provide detailed guidelines on pre-employment checking.”

Maria Espadinha is editor at FTAdviser's sister publication Pensions Expert.