Back to news 26 March 2015

Pensions liberation - April 2015 and the new Code of Practice

Sweeping changes are being made to the pensions industry from April 2015. Members will be able to access their pensions with a lot more choice and flexibility than has previously been allowed. HMRC has stated that it wants to ensure savers make the right decisions about investments having recognised the freedom this will provide to them to spend or invest their pension savings.

Pension scammers are expected to latch on to the new flexibilities available to members. A lot of these scams are sophisticated and the scammers are expected to seek new methods to target individuals and their savings. In February 2015, HMRC announced that it was continuing to work with the pensions industry and other government departments and agencies to look at reducing the opportunity for individuals to lose their savings through pension liberation scams.

Despite the safeguards that HMRC and the pensions industry are implementing to ensure the legitimacy of existing and new pension schemes it is still of the utmost importance that you consider taking appropriate advice before making decisions on your pension.

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. On 16 March, an industry group published a comprehensive Code of Good Practice aimed at combating pension scams. Whilst we are confident that the current process and procedures we have in place are robust, we plan to review the Code in detail with our administrator to ensure that we do everything we can to protect our members from these scams. We plan to provide you with a more detailed update following our review of the Code.

If you are considering a transfer of your benefits in the Fund to another pension arrangement we would urge you to visit the Pension Regulator'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.