Back to news 4 September 2014

Pension liberation scams - don't let your guard down

In October 2013 we informed you of the growing evidence of a rise in pension liberation schemes. These schemes usually promise early access to pension funds that members would not otherwise be entitled to until they reached their minimum pension age. The majority of these schemes, however, will result in members losing most, if not all, of their pension. Members may also incur high unauthorised payment tax charges.

The Pensions Regulator ("TPR") originally launched a campaign against pension liberation in February 2013. TPR has since revised and updated their campaign working with a number of organisations to help crackdown against pension liberation. As part of TPR's updated campaign they are now formally describing these schemes as scams. In July 2014, the BBC reported that action by the National Crime Agency had resulted in 18 pension liberation websites being suspended, with money tied up in these schemes amounting to at least £495m.

The Pensions Ombudsman has also reported an increase in the number of pension liberation complaints. The majority of these complaints were from members who had the transfer of their funds from pension arrangements to the liberation schemes blocked because their current pension provider believed the transfer would be an unauthorised payment.

What are we doing?

We, the Trustees, and the Fund's administrator, Capita, take the issue of pension liberation very seriously. Stringent checks are carried out before transfers of benefits are authorised in order to try and ensure that our members do not become victims of these pension liberation scams. If you are considering a transfer of your benefits in the Fund to another pension arrangement we would urge you to visit TPR's pension scams website for more information. For impartial information and guidance on scams you can contact the Pensions Advisory Service. If you think you are being targeted by a pension scam you should contact Action Fraud.