The Pensions Regulator (TPR) and Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) have today urged savers not to rush pension decisions as scammers try to take advantage of them during the COVID-19 outbreak.
The regulators said that fears over the impact of coronavirus on markets and personal finances may cause savers to make decisions that could damage their long-term interests.
They could be particularly vulnerable to fraudsters who look to take advantage of these fears during market volatility, with a spike in pension scams anticipated over the coming months.
“Fraudsters will exploit the coronavirus to prey on anxiety and fear of savers and investors, especially those who may be vulnerable,” said Mark Steward, FCA executive director of enforcement and market oversight.
“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.”
The coronavirus outbreak has impacted all kinds of companies, including those listed on the stock market, and the regulators warned that markets are likely to remain volatile for a while.
Throughout this period, TPR, FCA, Money and Pensions Service, and government departments will be working together to tackle any additional risks arising from the current uncertainty.
They urged savers to take their time and visit the Pensions Advisory Service website for free pensions guidance in plain English before making any decisions about their retirement savings.
Savers can also visit the ScamSmart website to learn how to protect themselves from pensions scams, including people already retired who are thinking again about their options.
TPR chief executive Charles Counsell said: “Pensions remain a safe long-term investment for your retirement and it’s important to avoid hasty decisions about cash that’s taken a lifetime to build.
“We urge you not to transfer your pension into another arrangement now and regret the decision later. If you’re worried about your pension savings, take the time to understand what options you have available. There is no need to rush.”