The Pensions Regulator has questioned six people in connection with a suspected pension fraud totaling £18m, it has revealed.
The regulator said it believes roughly 370 people have been affected after they were persuaded to transfer their pension pots into eight different pension schemes.
The case was opened after a number of schemes received requests from members to transfer their savings into suspicious schemes, thought to be companies connected with the investigation.
TPR executive director of frontline regulation, Nicola Parish, said: “The legitimate schemes in this case did the right thing by raising their concerns with us and stopping their members transferring out and potentially losing their life savings in what we believe to be scams.
“If you are trying to transfer out of a pension scheme and your existing scheme is raising concerns you should listen to them. They are protecting your pension and any red flag warning signs should be taken very seriously.”
According to TPR, two warrants were executed at residential addresses in Essex and a business address was also searched.
Three men and one woman were questioned under caution on suspicion of fraud offences, but later released while the investigation continued.
On 10 December, TPR’s determinations panel suspended nine people from acting as trustees for 12 months, and appointed an independent trustee to the eight schemes at the centre of the investigation.
The investigation follows the first fraud prosecution launched by the regulator against an accountant after he allegedly transferred more than £200,000 of pension scheme funds into his bank account.