Too few pension trustees are reporting scams, warns TPR

Not enough pension scheme trustees are protecting savers by reporting suspected scams, according to The Pensions Regulator (TPR).

It stated that more needed to be done by trustees, administrators and providers on reporting potential scam activity.

TPR launched its Pledge to Combat Pension Scams in November 2020, which encourages schemes to do more to protect savers from scammers, including reporting suspected scams.

The regulator called every administrator, trustee and pension provider to “take responsibility” for protecting savers and join its pledge.

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

“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,” stated TPR executive director of frontline policy, Nicola Parish.

“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.”

Commenting on the call for improvement, Dalriada Trustees senior trustee representative, Sean Browes, said: "Trustees and administrators are likely still finalising updates to their processes to comply with the new regulations introduced last year and it is important that, where a scam is suspected, these processes reflect the need to communicate suspected scams to both members and the wider industry, including TPR.

"Effective communication to, and engagement with, members, along with wider availability of information about suspected scams will be key to combatting the risk scams pose to members’ benefits, particularly as scams and scammers will inevitably continue to evolve.”

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