TPR ‘admits defeat’ on tracking extent of pension scamming

The Pensions Regulator said it is failing to measure the extent of pension scams and may have to “admit defeat”, TPR Project Bloom chair, Mike Broomfield has said.

Speaking at the PASA Administration Conference yesterday (13 February 2018), Broomfield said that collaboration on the issue is essential, but admitted that they have not been able to put a price on the extent of scamming.

Project Bloom, currently led by TPR, is a multi-agency taskforce which is working with government, the pensions industry, law enforcement agencies and other regulators to combat pension scams.

Broomfield said: “The information objective is important to us, it’s the biggest challenge we’ve got in terms of quantifying the problems of scams.

“We have had many attempts at looking how we can size the problems and put a price on it, and I can tell you now that we can’t do that. And we may have to admit defeat in that objective. I don’t think we’ll ever get a figure out there because we just don’t get enough data.”

The project is run in partnership with a number of organisations, including the National Crime Agency, the Financial Conduct Authority and HM Revenue & Customs.

Broomfield said that it was not an issue that “we can enforce our way out of”, but that “we can disrupt and take the legal structure away”, despite the risk of scammers popping up somewhere else.

Broomfield added: “We can take down websites, but what we are seeing is the scammers are smart, they have resources and are one step ahead of us no matter how hard we try.

“We have worked with colleagues in HMRC to look at registrations and how we can get scammer numbers down.”

The comments emerged as Broomfield laid down the projects 12 month strategy, with a specific focus around sharing intelligence and prevention through effective communication.

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