Updated code on combating pension scams launches

The Pensions Scams Industry Group (PSIG) has today (10 July) published an updated version of its guide to combating pensions scams.

The guide, Version 2.1 of Combating Pension Scams – A Code of Good Practice, offers support to trustees, providers and administrators with a particular focus on the introduction of the cold-calling ban and The Pension Regulator (TPR) and the Financial Conduct Authority’s (FCA) joint ScamSmart campaign.

PSIG first launched a guide to pension scams in 2015 with the aim of tackling the “new world of scamming”, followed by Version 2.0 in June 2018.

Commenting on the launch, PSIG chair, Margaret Snowdon, said: “We’ve been making good progress in our fight against pension scams, with many millions saved from the clutches of scammers through our work. But scammers are cunning and will always evolve their techniques, which is why we continue to develop our code.

“It will take the introduction of legislation to truly end the growing problem of pension scams but in the meantime, our voluntary code provides essential guidance and tools to help trustees and providers identify, and protect, their members and themselves from suspicious activity.”

Last week, The Pensions Ombudsman warned that pension fraudsters are playing the long game in regard to scamming members, gaining their trust in the short-term only to sting them even harder several years later.

Pensions Minister Guy Opperman added: “Pension scams are callous crimes that rob people who have done the right thing and saved for their future and the retirement they deserve. I’m determined to stamp them out. There’s good work already going on - the FCA’s ScamSmart campaign stopped £33m falling into crooks’ hands last year alone.

“But we need to do more and this new code will help pension trustees keep pace with this evolving threat and protect people from these wolves in sheep’s clothing. It is essential reading for all those working in the industry.”

The guidance also highlights the inclusion of the newly launched Money and Pension Service, the rise of claims management firms and the learnings of the body’s Scams Survey Pilot 2018.

Snowdon urged all trustees and providers to adopt the code into their due diligence.

TPR executive director of frontline regulation, Nicola Parish, said: “The pensions industry plays a vital role in the fight against scams by stopping suspicious transfers and alerting regulators and law enforcement agencies to fraudulent activity so we can take action.

“The updated code will allow providers to more easily understand how they can help to prevent savers losing their funds to criminals.”

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