Pensions are among the biggest financial commitments we’ll ever make, so naturally we want to feel assured our investment will be well looked after. We’re essentially handing someone else the reins to our retirement, which is a bit like giving a stranger the keys to your house. This feels even more significant when we’re all living longer, healthier lives.
Fraudsters take advantage of this leap of faith, by cynically and ruthlessly deceiving people into believing that there are untapped riches on offer, before cruelly and callously dashing their dreams for later life.
These scams are extremely damaging, desperately so for their victims, but also for the rest of the pensions industry, eroding confidence in saving. So, we need to tackle this criminality, and we’re clear both trustees and government must play a part.
For their part, trustees are in a powerful position to warn people against making the wrong decision. They have an in-depth understanding of each saver’s financial position, and their experience and nous enable them to spot the ‘red flags’ that give away when a would-be scammer is up to no good.
So, we’re planning to legislate to help trustees ensure that transfers of pension savings are made to safe schemes, such as authorised master trusts, and not fraudulent schemes.
Trustees have a moral responsibility to act in the best interests of their members, and these laws will assist them in performing a vital screening role to stop scams at source.
As we help trustees to combat these criminals with new powers, we are giving savers the tools to better understand their finances in one place. The newly announced Money and Pension Service (MAPS) is a joined up service for everything from help with debt to money and pensions guidance.
It will make it easy for people to get all the help they need to make better financial decisions throughout their lives. This is a big step towards providing high quality, free and impartial information and guidance on the big money questions. As more of today’s younger generations are saving through automatic enrolment, we want to build a nation of savvy savers.
The new Money and Pensions Service (MAPS) will play a vital role in this process, informing people of their pension options with face-to-face and over the phone guidance and, in what will be a huge step in bringing pensions into the digital age, it will drive industry’s development of pensions dashboards while delivering the first non-commercial dashboard.
The more information people have about their money, the better they will be at spotting these sophisticated frauds, and MAPS will make accessing this information quicker and easier.
Automatic enrolment has transformed pensions saving, bringing more than 10 million people across the UK into workplace schemes. That translates to billions of pounds put aside for later life.
The bigger the pot, the bigger the draw for the rip-off merchants. That’s why I’m determined to arm trustees and savers with the tools to keep the scammers at bay, and retirement savings safe.
Minister for Pensions and Financial Inclusion