Phoenix Group: Fraud up on change in pension rules

Tim Wallace
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Ex-HSBC executive Clive Bannister heads Phoenix
Phoenix Group saw £8m-worth of attempted frauds targetting its customers last year, the firm revealed yesterday, as scammers tried to use the new rules as cover to steal funds.

The warning came as Phoenix rep­orted a 10 per cent rise in operating profits, which came in at £489m for 2014.

Net incomes came in at £5.3bn, up from £4.3bn in 2013, although there was a fall in net insurance premiums written of £811m.

The group said that customers have been targetted by fraudsters trying to take ad­vantage of new rules which mean retirees do not have to buy an annuity.

”Unfortunately, the new freedoms are likely to encourage more in­stances of customers being targetted by fraudsters and we have been proactive in highlighting this issue within the industry, media and with our customers to ensure we help them get maximum protection from losing their hard-earned savings,” the business said in its annual results.

“Phoenix Group has to date prevented over 1,000 people from losing a total of £22m to fraudulent schemes, of which £8m was during 2014. We intend to continue to be as vigilant in 2015.”

The firm has some turmoil ahead – chairman Sir Howard Davies is leaving in the summer to go to chair state-backed bank RBS.

Phoenix Group’s shares rose 0.38 per cent on the closing yesterday at 133p.

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