Enhance: Construction Pension Scene, Northern Ireland

Enhance

Retirement

Transfer Fraud Warning

There is growing evidence of pension scheme members being subject to “pension liberation fraud”.

Throughout the pensions industry, an increasing number of companies have been targeting savers claiming that they can help them to transfer their pension savings to an arrangement that will allow them access to their funds before the age of 55.

Accessing pension funds legally before the age of 55 is only possible in extremely rare circumstances, for example serious ill health.  For most, this activity would be fraudulent and promises of early cash will be bogus and are likely to result in serious tax charges and penalties amounting to more than half the value of a member's pension savings.

The majority of cases identified to date have been aimed at members yet to attain the age of 55. However, members who have reached age 55 may also wish to ensure that any transfer application made is not as a result of a fraudulent activity.

What to look out for:

  • Being approached over the phone or via a text message.

  • Pushy advisers or 'introducers' who offer cash incentives to transfer.

  • Companies that can offer a 'loan', 'saving advance' or 'cash back' from your pension.

  • Not being informed about the potential tax consequences.

Five steps to avoid becoming a victim:

  • Never give out financial or personal information to a cold caller.

  • Find out about the company's background through information online (any Financial Advisers should be registered with the Financial Conduct Authority: www.fca.org.uk).

  • Ask for a statement showing how your pension will be paid at retirement and question who will look after your money until then.

  • Speak to an adviser that is not associated with the proposal you have received – for unbiased advice.

  • Never be rushed into agreeing to a pension transfer.

Visit the Pensions Regulator website for further information.