If anyone follows the blogs I write (I don’t get fan mail so I am not sure about this) they fall into a couple of categories. There are those that cover a variety of technical matters relating to our wonderful world of pensions and then there are the blogs about pension scams. The former tends to be because I am a bit of pensions geek; the latter because working as a trustee on pension scam appointments from The Pensions Regulator means that it is a subject close to my heart.
My last blog on the subject of scams was exactly a year ago when I covered the launch of the PSIG’s Code of Practice on how to Combat Pension Scams. So that was that then, nothing for the last twelve months, it’s sorted and the Code has stopped scams dead in their tracks. If only it was true.
I have a repeating phrase in my scams blogs that scammers and scams evolve. That is still true. The cold call ban may have come into force, but I will bet a very large chocolate doughnut that there are people out there working on the next iteration of the scam pension scheme to part victims from their pension savings.
Scams can evolve. That’s why, as an industry, we also must evolve and to do everything we can to stop members falling prey to scams. So, rather than resting on its laurels for a job well done in getting their code published, the PSIG got on with looking at how it could evolve the code. Last week they published version 2.1 (http://dalriadatrustees.co.uk/files/Scams-Code-v2.1-FINAL.pdf). This new version of the code contained 10 changes from the previous version. These changes are:
- The Cold Calling ban
- The Pensions Regulator (TPR) and FCA ScamSmart campaign and TPR’s Threat Assessment update
- The new Money and Pensions Service
- An update on determinations made by The Pensions Ombudsman and their implications
- The rise of claims management firms
- FCA letter “Managing the risks of Defined Benefits to Defined Contribution transfers”
- The FCA – TPR – Pensions Advisory Service joint protocol
- PSIG’s Scams Survey Pilot 2018
- Revised Action Fraud reporting guidance
- Additional case studies
All this in a year and probably each one a separate blog in its own right!
I still see figures about how many red flags are being thrown up through good due diligence (which is great and shows that the Code is being used and is working). However, I also see figures about how much money is falling into the hands of the scammers, which suggest that parts of the industry still need to get better at due diligence. The problem will not go away and scammers will keep getting their hands on money, which will ruin someone’s retirement, their dreams and their lives. We will never stop it. But we can use all the tools and knowledge available to us to stop as much as we possibly can.
With all that is going on I suspect this won’t be my last blog on scams. One day, maybe.