Financial Conduct Authority
ScamSmart prompts tens of thousands of pension holders to seek information
The number of people seeking information about pension scams has soared since the launch of the first joint campaign by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and The Pensions Regulator (TPR) this summer.
In the 55 days before the launch around 31,000 people visited the at an average of 562 per day. In the 55 days after the launch this rose five-fold (462%) to more than 173,000 people – an average of 3,145 per day and the equivalent of one every 27 seconds. Additionally, over 370 pensions holders were warned about an unauthorised firm after using the , an online tool that helps consumers check a list of firms operating without authorisation.
The campaign urges all pension holders to be on their guard against pension scams as new research suggests that half (52%) of 45-65 year olds with a pension do not think they are likely be targeted by a pension scam. The most common reasons given were that they are too savvy to be scammed (21%) or that they didn’t have enough money saved in their pension (18%).
Victims of pension scams last year lost an average of £91,000 each to fraudsters. They reported receiving cold-calls, offers of free pension reviews and promises that they would get high rates of return – all of which are key warning signs of scams.
Research from the FCA estimates over 10 million UK adults received an unsolicited pension offer in just one year. The Treasury has laid regulations that will ban pension cold calling early in 2019.
The FCA and TPR are urging the public to be ScamSmart with their pension and always check who they’re dealing with. The regulators recommend four simple steps to protect yourself from pension scams:
- Reject unexpected pension offers whether made online, on social media or over the phone
- Check who you’re dealing with before changing your pension arrangements – check the FCA Register or call the FCA contact centre on 0800 111 6768 to see if the firm you are dealing with is authorised by the FCA
- Don’t be rushed or pressured into making any decision about your pension
- Consider getting impartial information and advice
If you think you’ve been a victim of a pension scam, report it. Visit www.fca.org.uk/scamsmart to find out more.
Mark Steward, the FCA’s Executive Director of Enforcement and Market Oversight, said:
'Our research shows that many pension holders believe they are too savvy to be scammed. But pension scams are often very sophisticated and difficult to spot. Scammers will target people from all walks of life and with any size pension.'
'The best way to protect yourself is to always check the FCA Register to make sure that anyone offering you pension advice or any other financial service is authorised by the FCA.'
Nicola Parish, TPR’s Executive Director of Frontline Regulation, yesterday said:
'The dramatic increase in the number of people visiting ScamSmart for information is very encouraging but this is not the end of the campaign.'
'Every pension holder is a potential scam victim so it’s vital that we continue spreading the word about scammers and how they operate to prevent more people handing over their funds to criminals.'
Guy Opperman, Minister for Pensions and Financial Inclusion, yesterday said:
'Pension scams are devastating for people and can rob them of the retirement they planned. Raising awareness of how these heartless criminals operate is key to tackling fraud, and the response to this campaign is encouraging.'
'I would urge savers to always exercise caution and seek independent guidance or advice before making important financial decisions – free, impartial guidance is available from Pension Wise or The Pensions Advisory Service.'
The FCA and TPR are part of Project Bloom, a multi-agency taskforce which is working to combat pension scams. The taskforce includes the Department for Work and Pensions, HM Treasury, the Serious Fraud Office, City of London Police, the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau, The Pensions Advisory Service and the National Crime Agency.
Notes to editors
- Research completed by GfK using Computer Assisted Web Interviewing from 3rd August to 23rd September 2018, amongst 45-65 year olds with a current or frozen pension.
- We estimated that around 10.4m UK adults received an unsolicited pension offer - FCA Financial Lives Survey 2017
- ScamSmart website visits totalled 173,533 during the campaign period vs 30,890 in the period before campaign launch.
- If people aged 50 or over do require free independent advice they can contact the government-backed Pension Wise service(link is external) to book a free appointment.
- On 1 April 2013, the FCA became responsible for the conduct supervision of all regulated financial firms and the prudential supervision of those not supervised by the Prudential Regulation Authority.
- The FCA has an overarching strategic objective of ensuring the relevant markets function well. To support this it has three operational objectives: to secure an appropriate degree of protection for consumers, to protect and enhance the integrity of the UK financial system, and to promote effective competition in the interests of consumers.
- TPR is the regulator of work-based pension schemes in the UK. Our statutory objectives are: to protect members’ benefits; to reduce the risk of calls on the Pension Protection Fund (PPF); to promote, and to improve understanding of, the good administration of work-based pension schemes; to maximise employer compliance with automatic enrolment duties; and to minimise any adverse impact on the sustainable growth of an employer (in relation to the exercise of the regulator’s functions under Part 3 of the Pensions Act 2004 only)
Latest News from
Financial Conduct Authority
FCA data show 5% drop in complaints in the second half of 201819/04/2019 10:25:00
The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) yesterday published the complaints figures for regulated firms for the second half of 2018.
FCA sets out its priorities for 2019/2018/04/2019 10:25:00
The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) yesterday published its Business Plan for 2019/20, which outlines the key priorities for the coming year.
Insurance firms failing to consider value of the products and services provided to consumers11/04/2019 13:43:00
The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) is warning General Insurance (GI) firms about manufacturing, sales and distribution approaches that can lead to customers purchasing inappropriate products, paying excessive prices or receiving poor service.
Upper Tribunal publishes decision on Linear Investments Limited in relation to penalty imposed by FCA10/04/2019 15:10:00
The Upper Tribunal has published its decision on the reference made by Linear Investments Limited (Linear) in relation to the penalty imposed by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).
FCA fines Standard Chartered Bank £102.2 million for poor AML controls09/04/2019 16:10:00
The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has fined Standard Chartered Bank (Standard Chartered) £102,163,200 for Anti-Money Laundering (AML) breaches in two higher risk areas of its business. This is the second largest financial penalty for AML controls failings ever imposed by the FCA.
UK Financial Conduct Authority and Australian Securities and Investments Commission agree to strengthen cooperation post-Brexit08/04/2019 14:10:00
The UK Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) today announced they have agreed two Memoranda of Understanding to ensure there is continuity once the UK leaves the European Union. The MoUs cover trade repositories and alternative investment funds (AIFs).
Claims management companies enter FCA regulation02/04/2019 10:20:00
The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) began regulating the claims management industry as of yesterday (1 April). All claims management companies (CMCs) in England, Scotland and Wales will now have to demonstrate they meet and maintain minimum standards set by the FCA. All existing and new CMCs will need to apply to the FCA for authorisation.
The UK Financial Conduct Authority and the US Securities and Exchange Commission sign updated supervisory cooperation arrangements01/04/2019 14:28:00
The United Kingdom (UK) Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and the United States (US) Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) recently (29 March 2019) reaffirmed their commitment to continue close cooperation and information sharing in the event of the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union (EU).