Majority of pension savers want providers to have suspicious transfer blocking abilities

More than three quarters (78 per cent) of savers think pension providers should be able to halt transfers if they suspect fraud, The People’s Pension (TPP) has found.

The survey, which was conducted by YouGov on behalf of TPP, also found that nearly half (49 per cent) of savers thought pension companies should intervene if a pension transfer triggered any of the ‘red flag’ warnings listed in a possible amendment to the Pension Schemes Bill.

The amendment is the result of the Department for Work and Pensions’ collaboration with the Pension Scams Industry Group and will seek to address red flags such as the transferring member having been contacted about moving their pension pot through social media.

The amendment was proposed by Work and Pensions Committee chair, Stephen Timms, with the intention of handing greater powers to trustees, and although those were formally withdrawn at committee stage last week, the government has committed to cross-party talks on the issue before the bill reaches its final stages on 16 November.

Meanwhile, TPP’s research also found that one in five (20 per cent) UK adults with a pension were found to be more worried about being a victim of a pension scam compared to a year ago.

The same poll also showed that just over a third (34 per cent) of UK adults are more worried about being a victim of some sort of financial scam now compared to 12 months ago.

TPP director of policy, Phil Brown, said: “The overwhelming consensus from the general public is that pension companies should be given the legal power to put the brakes on a transfer they think might by fraudulent.

“As it stands, providers and trustees can merely advise a customer when their suspicions are aroused and our research shows that £31m of transfers went ahead last year even after the savers were made aware of the concerns. The industry needs the support of policy makers if it’s to win the war against merciless fraudsters.”

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