The gravity of the situation is reflected by the schemes that the Regulator are now looking at. One scheme alone is though to have “liberated” between £130 and £150m , a good proportion of which is lost for ever as the 20-30% administration charge levied by the liberators.
The messages are clear
If you are tempted to liberate your pension – don’t do it. You will pay high fees, may incur an unexpected tax charge and could even be a conspirator to a fraud (as well as a victim).
If you know anyone who is being tempted to release short term cash- send them to the Money Advice Service or a Citizen’s advice bureau. There are better ways of raising cash.
If you know anyone who is involved in the business of releasing people’s pensions, stay clear– they are not worth your friendship or business acquaintance.
The Pension Regulator has acted. For the first time it is using its section 15 powers and is fighting the “liberators” through the courts. I have been critical of what I considered it’s heavy handed approach but have withdrawn the criticism.
The greater good is served by all of us working together in a common endeavour to stamp out fraud and if I have offended anyone at the Regulator, please accept my apologies!
Let us hope that the current legal case. being heard in Court 13 of the High Court results in these despicable liberation schemes being stripped of any vestige of respectability and being deemed anything but “occupational”.
Let us hope that in the longer term we return to a system where schemes to be register need formal approval and not a rubber stamp.
Finally, let’s work together so that it is considered “liberating” your pension an act of total muppetry, to .
Until we get people to value their pensions as equivalent in value to any other of their financial assets, we will have dealt not with the disease but only the symptoms.
So hats off to Andrew Warwick-Thompson for making this the first great campaign of his reign and wigs off to the lawyers in court today.
As my parking space so graphically displays, take the APE out of TAPPER and there’s not that much between me and the Regulator!