“At the request of DWP we will continue to record if our customers have been informed of the flag identified by their scheme, but we do not anticipate the number of unknown flags to change significantly. This has no impact on the guidance session delivered to our customer.”
In a separate response, Maps added: “As part of the guidance session we do ask our customers if they are aware of which flag has been raised and if known this is recorded as part of our MI. A large proportion of our customers are not aware of the particular flag or are unwilling to disclose this to us – this is recorded as unknown on our records.”
Quilter said this confirmation from Maps is “a real positive” as it shows it proactively gathers information from the customer on the reason for the amber flag.
Yet, given the significant number of ‘unknowns’, this would suggest there may be a lack of information being provided to members by pension schemes when an amber flag is raised, it explained.
A DWP spokesperson said: “Our new transfer regulations are helping protect people from fraudsters trying to trick them into moving their pension pots into scam accounts, striking the right balance between providing necessary protections for pension savers while ensuring they still have freedom and choice about where their savings are invested.
“The government committed to reviewing the new regulations within 18 months to ensure they remain as effective as possible in targeting the evolving methods used by scammers.”
The spokesperson said to inform that process, DWP has been engaging closely with the pensions industry and the Maps, and all data and feedback will be considered when completing the review.
During the first year of the regulations, Maps saw a growth in the number of people requiring guidance appointments, which Quilter said was positive to see that so many people may have been saved from fraudsters.
But it said that the current drafting of the DWP rules is not specific enough and has led to many pension savers being forced to take guidance before they are able to make even a low-risk transfer.
Given the current lack of clarity and ongoing delays, which could lead to customer dissatisfaction and disengagement, as well as ineffective data collection, these changes could make a considerable difference to customer receptiveness to Maps guidance sessions and will also help with the assessment of the effectiveness of the regulations by significantly reducing – if not eliminating entirely – the number of ‘unknowns’, Quilter explained.