The Pension Scams Industry Group (PSIG) has launched a second version of Combating Pension Scams - A Code of Good Practice.
The PSIG is the voluntary body set up to combat pension scams through the publication of good practice in due diligence for trustees, providers and administrators.
The original code, first published in 2015, set out the key steps to help identify possible pension scams, as well as providing practical guidance like checklists and sample letters.
Whilst the code has no statutory basis, schemes have been adopting its guidelines in the three years since its launch, resulting in the prevention of thousands of transfers to unauthorised arrangements and saving many people from a likely loss of pension savings.
The latest version of the code has been published to reflect a new world of scamming and changes to the market and scammers’ tactics. Highlights include:
• A focus on vulnerable customers;
• How schemes can talk to transferring members to collect better information;
• Recommending schemes refer insistent members to TPAS for impartial guidance;
• Making it easier for schemes to report suspected scams to Action Fraud;
• Expanded template letters and stronger member discharges;
• Case studies portraying real decisions made by real schemes;
• Greater clarity on member responsibility where decisions have been made contrary to due warning.
Margaret Snowdon OBE, chair of the PSIG, said: “The growth in international SIPPs and QROPS means that the scamming landscape has changed significantly in recent years. This, coupled with more members wanting to exercise pension freedoms and ever more sophisticated scamming tactics means we need to be able to respond effectively.
“Whilst we await regulation to help stop cold calls and make it tougher to transfer, the industry needs tools to help pinpoint dubious arrangements. Scammers spend time grooming their victims, so we encourage schemes to speak with members to fully understand their situation and refer insistent customers to TPAS, who can explain the risks of scamming from an impartial standpoint.
“The updated code is bold and informative, containing more case studies and stronger template letters and discharges to help schemes safeguard their members. I am grateful to the team and reviewers who made this possible and extend special thanks to the Minister for Pensions, who has shown support for the Code by writing its foreword.”
The code is available to download from the PSIG website.