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Failing to report scams is a failure to protect savers, says TPR

Ref: PN22-02

Issued: Tuesday 18 January 2022

Too few pension scheme trustees are protecting savers by reporting suspected scams, says The Pensions Regulator (TPR).

In November 2020, TPR launched its Pledge to Combat Pension Scams, which encourages schemes to do more to protect savers from scammers, including reporting suspected scams to the authorities – Action Fraud or by calling 101 in Scotland.

So far, almost 400 schemes have pledged or self-certified they meet the campaign’s saver-protecting principles covering an estimated 16 million pension pots.

But TPR says more must be done on reporting and every administrator, trustee and provider should take responsibility for protecting savers and join the Pledge.

Nicola Parish, TPR’s Executive Director of Frontline Regulation said: “Scammers screw up lives and industry must stand up and do all it can to protect savers from these life-shattering crimes by joining our pledge campaign and reporting any suspected scams.

“I’m delighted that an estimated 16 million pension pots are now better protected thanks to our Pledge campaign, but every saver deserves to be in a scheme committed to keeping their money safe from scammers.

“New regulations have already introduced new duties on due diligence and warning members where a transfer shows features of a scam, so there’s no excuse for failing to report suspicions to the authorities.

“We’ve seen little evidence that the pensions industry is reporting its suspicions and this lack of data makes it difficult to accurately determine the scale of the problem and put in place successful interventions.”

Notes for editors

  • TPR’s Pledge to Combat Pension Scams has seen almost 400 (398) schemes and organisations have pledged or self-certified that they meet the principles of the campaign since its launch in November 2020. In January, TPR launched an advertising campaign via email and social media calling on the pensions industry to do more to stop scammers screwing up lives. Examples of the campaign are attached to this release for journalists to use. A high-resolution image of Nicola Parish, TPR’s Executive Director of Frontline Regulation, is available from TPR’s media library.
  • Regulations, arising from the Pension Schemes Act 2021, introduced a system of red and amber flags, giving trustees the power to refuse transfers where there's a heightened risk it may be part of a scam. The Pledge has been adapted to account for the new regulations and remains a voluntary opportunity for schemes to demonstrate their commitment to protecting members and intention to do more than the legal minimum, including following the principles of the Pension Scams Industry Group Code of Good Practice. Extra measures trustees, administrators and providers can take under the Pledge include:
    • raising awareness of the risk of scams by regulatory warning members
    • understanding the warning signs of a scam, best practice for transfers and completing TPR’s Trustee Toolkit scams module
    • reporting concerns about scams to Action Fraud or 101 in Scotland
  • The Pensions Regulator is the regulator of work-based pension schemes in the UK. Our statutory objectives are: to protect members’ benefits; to reduce the risk of calls on the Pension Protection Fund (PPF); to promote, and to improve understanding of, the good administration of work-based pension schemes; to maximise employer compliance with automatic enrolment duties; and to minimise any adverse impact on the sustainable growth of an employer (in relation to the exercise of the regulator’s functions under Part 3 of the Pensions Act 2004 only).

Press contacts

Dan Menhinnitt

Media Officer
01273 349511

Matt Adams

Senior Media and Parliamentary Manager
01273 662086

Out of hours

This is for journalists only with a media enquiry. The below number will divert to our on call media officer.
01273 648496

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