The Pensions Regulator has concluded a fraud investigation related to the pension scheme of more than 280 members and the trustee of that scheme. The trustee was suspended after it was determined that he transferred the pensions into a new scheme and then provided the members with as much as 75% of their funds as loans. This fraudulent practice is called pension liberation, and is criminal. Other trustees were also found to have participated in this fraud and were convicted of dishonesty offences and money laundering, receiving suspended prison sentences for their crimes.
How can you protect your pension from fraudulent trustees and ensure your funds are safe? Pension fraud is usually related to accessing your pension funds prior to age 55. If you receive a call or someone offers you a free “pension consultation”, if they offer cash up front, or claim you can access your pension prior to age 55, beware. These are fraudulent practices and could wipe out your pension.
The Pensions Regulator recommends checking the credentials of any advisor or company you are considering doing business with, and ensure the company is registered with the Financial Conduct Authority. TPR also recommends getting a second opinion from an advisor not affiliated with the company you are considering to ensure you are getting sound advice. Before transferring your pension, be sure you have done research and are not pressured to make a decision.
The Pensions Regulator is cracking down on pension fraud, and trustees or advisors who conspire or commit fraud will be prosecuted. Protect yourself and your pension - if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is! Don’t take any chances with your life savings. Work with advisors and companies that are highly reviewed, registered with the Financial Conduct Authority, and always get a second opinion before transferring your pension to another company.
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