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Press comment: Warning as pension scams move online after cold-call ban


If you are covering today’s Pensions Policy Institute report on the evolution of pension scams, please see the following commentary from Ian Browne, retirement expert at Quilter

The paper warns that pension scams have become more prevalent in the post-pension freedoms era, adding that that some scams have moved online and that the scale of pension fraud is still unknown, with many cases going unreported.

Ian says:

“Being alert to the risk of pension scams is absolutely critical. The government’s decision to outlaw pension cold-calling sent a clear message to pension savers: if you receive a call out of the blue about your pension, hang up.

“But it has resulted in scammers moving online to target vulnerable people through internet searches, social media and email. Although the authorities take steps to intervene where a scam is identified, they are engaged in a perpetual game of whack-a-mole. When they deter cold-call scam tactics, the same fraudsters pop-up online. This is a particular worry for younger savers, who may have been less susceptible to telephone-based scams, but are used to transacting online and may be lured into scams on the web or social media.

“The most important thing for people to do is not to rely on intervention from the authorities alone, but instead to take preventative measures themselves. This means exercising caution about any ads and sales pitches that seem too good to be true, for example those offering consistent double-digit returns. Be sure that before you engage anyone to advise you on your pension you have checked that they are registered with the Financial Conduct Authority to provide pensions advice.

“Uncertainty caused during the Covid-19 pandemic also increases the risk of financial fraud, so it is particularly critical to be alert at the moment. Be very cautious about offers to switch your pension to ‘safer’ investments or unsolicited contact claiming to be a government email or text. Check everything thoroughly before acting and look for the warning signs of a possible scam.  

“The Pension Schemes Bill currently making its way through Parliament makes some provision for blocking transfers where there is risk they may be fraudulent. At present, although pension providers can warn people against transferring to a suspect operation, the customer has a statutory right to transfer and can insist on switching. Once the Bill passes, it will add an extra layer of protection.”

For more information contact

Michael Glenister020 7778 963807469

Notes to Editors:

About Quilter plc:

Quilter plc is a leading wealth management business in the UK and internationally, helping to create prosperity for the generations of today and tomorrow.

Quilter plc oversees £95.3 billion in customer investments (as at 31 March 2020).

It has an adviser and customer offering spanning: financial advice; investment platforms; multi-asset investment solutions; and discretionary fund management.

The business is comprised of two segments: Advice and Wealth Management and Wealth Platforms.

Advice and Wealth Management encompasses the financial advice business, Quilter Financial Planning; the discretionary fund management business, Quilter Cheviot; and Quilter Investors, the Multi-asset investment solutions business.

Wealth Platforms includes Old Mutual Wealth UK platform and Quilter International, including AAM Advisory in Singapore.

The Old Mutual Wealth Heritage life assurance business was acquired by ReAssure Group Plc on 2 January 2020.

Since its IPO in June 2018, Quilter plc’s businesses have progressively rebranded to Quilter, as follows: 

  • Quilter Financial Planning (previously Intrinsic)
  • Quilter Private Client Advisers (previously Old Mutual Wealth Private Client Advisers)
  • Quilter Financial Advisers (previously Charles Derby Group)
  • Quilter Financial Adviser School
  • Quilter Cheviot
  • Quilter Investors
  • Old Mutual Wealth (becoming Quilter Investment Platform)
  • Quilter International (previously Old Mutual International)

This press release is for journalists only and should not be relied upon by financial advisers or customers.

Please remember that past performance is not a guide to future performance. The value of investments and the income from them can go down as well as up and investors may not get back any of the amount originally invested. Exchange rate changes may cause the value of overseas investments to rise or fall.

This communication is issued by Quilter plc.  Registered office: Millennium Bridge House, 2 Lambeth Hill, London EC4V 4AJ, United Kingdom. Registered number: 6404270.  Registered in England.