Wednesday 1 April 2020 12:01 am

Coronavirus: Regulators urge savers to avoid rash decisions on pensions

Regulators today urged savers to not make any rash decisions in relation to their pensions during the coronavirus epidemic.

The Pensions Regulator (TPR), the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), and the Money and Pensions Service (MaPS), said fears over the impact of the pandemic on markets and personal finances may make savers more vulnerable to scams or to making a decision that could damage their long-term interests.

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The regulators are urging savers to take their time and visit the Pensions Advisory Service website for pensions guidance before making any decisions about their retirement savings.

They are also advising savers to go to the Scamsmart website to learn how to protect themselves from pensions scams. This includes people already retired who are thinking again about their options.

The regulators said market volatility can lead to an increase in scams, as unscrupulous people try to take advantage of the uncertain situation.

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Throughout this period, TPR, the FCA, MaPS and government departments will be working together to tackle any additional risks arising from the current uncertainty, they said.

Charlotte Jackson, head of pensions operations and consumer protection at MaPS, said: “This is a very worrying time for people. For those on the point of retiring, the impact of the virus on the financial markets and therefore on pension savings has been damaging. If you are in a workplace pension, investments are designed to deliver over the long term with measures in place to reduce the risks faced by investors as they approach retirement.”

Mark Steward, FCA’s executive director of enforcement and market oversight, said: “Fraudsters will exploit the coronavirus to prey on anxiety and fear of savers and investors, especially those who may be vulnerable. That’s why we’re urging anyone who is thinking about transferring their pension to check who they are dealing with and only use firms authorised by the FCA.

“Reject all unexpected and unsolicited offers; get to know the warning signs of scams, like high rates of return which sound too good to be true, so-called special offers or pressure to make a quick decision and check our tips and advice on our Scamsmart website.”

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