This message hit my inbox this morning from the indomitable Angie Brookes
A new campaign has been launched to warn people of the dangers of pension liberation and the fraudsters who are peddling this junk.
Pension Life – www.pension-life.com – has been set up to help honest, ethical IFA’s to avoid losing business and credibility to the junk peddlers masquerading as “financial advisers”.
The Vulture Campaign can be found here: http://www.pension-life.com/#!about1/cd6t
The good IFA’s are going to be kept busy in the coming months rescuing victims of pension liberation involving New Zealand QROPS and Marazion “loans” and Capita Oak’s worthless assets in storage pods: http://www.ecalpemos.org/2014/09/are-you-affected-by-investments-in.html?showComment=1412494579932#c6812780903028119972
Also, see the BBC’s documentary on pension liberation which was too late for many victims but hopefully should bolster the effects of the Vulture Campaign and help avoid future victims: http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-28465983
THE VULTURE CAMPAIGN’S WARNING ON PENSION LIBERATION
The scammers are circling. With their sharp, beady eyes they are ready to swoop on your pension. Once they get their claws into you, they will tear the flesh off your retirement savings and leave you with an empty pot and a big tax bill.
Let’s make no bones about it – pension liberation is a fraud. No proper, self-respecting, professional financial adviser would ever let you go anywhere near any form of pension liberation under any circumstances. Here’s why:
• You will be charged huge fees and commissions – some of them invisible
• Any amount liberated will be subject to 55% tax
• The pension’s assets can get frozen, drop in value or disappear altogether
• You may end up with an expensive “loan” from a supposedly unconnected third party
The vultures will tell you:
• They are professional pensions experts
• The scheme is lawful and registered by HMRC and the Pensions Regulator (tPR)
• You can access a proportion of your pension before you are 55 tax free
• The new pension is better for you than your existing one, is good value and has performed well
The vultures won’t tell you:
• They are unregulated and uninsured
• The scheme may be registered with HMRC and tPR, but that doesn’t mean it is approved or safe
• There is no professional trustee to safeguard the pension’s assets and invest cautiously
• Nobody will return your calls or answer your emails when you find out you’ve been scammed
So what is a “scam” exactly?
“A fraudulent scheme performed by a dishonest individual or company in an attempt to obtain money. Scams traditionally resided in “confidence tricks”, where an individual would misrepresent themselves as someone with skill or authority. http://www.businessdictionary.com/definition/scam.html#ixzz3ErdBY4LU
And who are the scammers?
• People claiming to be professional “introducers” to innovative pension products
• Financial advisers claiming to be qualified and regulated (but are not)
• Agents claiming to represent professional financial advice firms
• Advertisers warning you to transfer your pension quickly before it is “too late”
How do the scammers convince people to liberate their pensions?
• They tell them a pack of lies
• They use words like “maximising value” or “not traditionally available” or “unique opportunity”
• They tell them there is a deadline and that their existing pension is at risk or under performing
• They entice them with “cash” benefits from their pensions
Why do people fall victim to these vultures?
• The vultures are very clever salesmen with a very plausible sales pitch
• The victims need cash for debts or financial problems
• Pension trustees are still handing over victims’ pensions without checking for fraud
• The Pensions Regulator’s “Scorpion” Campaign hasn’t worked – the vultures are still at it!
Who do I tell if I suspect pension liberation fraud?
• Contact Pension Life’s BLOW THE WHISTLE! The complaint will be done for you.
What should pension providers be doing to stop pension liberation fraud?
• Always ask whether liberation (or a “loan”) is involved in the transaction
• Always check for mythical employers – often offshore – when the pension is occupational
• Always check that the person is really employed by the sponsoring employer
• Always check for mythical trustees and administrators (often the same organisation)
Where can I find more information?
• Scorpion Campaign http://www.thepensionsregulator.gov.uk/pension-scams
• Project Bloom http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/pensionschemes/liberationud.pdf
• Blog http://arkpensions.wordpress.com/2014/09/17/ark-pension-disaster-the-times-article/
• Vultures, fraudsters and pension scammers making off with £500 million of victims’ hard-earned savings http://www.independent.co.uk/money/pensions/pension-scammers-make-off-with-nearly-500m-9636156.html?origin=internalSearch
• Pension Life http://www.pension-life.com
Pension PlayPen wishes this campaign well