This could make you a target for scammers, so it is crucial you check who you are dealing with and know where to check if something doesn’t seem right.
Because pensions are the most efficient way to save for the long term, your pension savings may be one of the biggest financial assets you have.
We want you to plan your retirement securely and with confidence. To find out more about identifying pension scams, visit the Financial Conduct Authority’s dedicated ScamSmart website at www.fca.org.uk/scamsmart or contact us for help.
Your guide to the information on this page
Keep your financial future safe
Keeping your pension safe is important and scammers can be very persuasive. Even if someone sounds like they know what they’re talking about, doing your due diligence is essential.
This can happen to anyone. Take steps to ensure your pension doesn’t go toward someone else’s holiday. Use the tips and advice you can find on the ScamSmart website to protect your financial future.
Best practices to stay safe
To help you keep your pension safe, we’ve put together some best practices and things you may need to be aware of. Be sure to read through this carefully and only make well-informed and researched decisions about your pension to avoid scams.
Reject unexpected offers:
Be wary of cold calls – they are completely illegal. If you receive phone calls out of the blue offering free pension reviews or limited time offers where you feel pressured to make a decision, they are highly likely to be scams.
Only take advice from a professional financial adviser you have personally chosen.
Know who you are dealing with:
When it comes to transferring large sums of money from your pension, always deal with a registered, professional financial adviser. The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) registers all firms and you should be able to find them on the official register at www.register.fca.org.uk.
Check any contact details you are given:
Some scammers ‘clone’ legitimate financial advisers’ websites to pass themselves off as the real thing. If anything seems suspicious, always use the contact details provided on the FCA register, not the ones they give you.
Don’t be rushed or pressured:
When something sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Planning your retirement is one of the most important and potentially complex areas of financial planning, which is why so many people turn to a financial adviser to make the right decisions. There should never be a need to rush – financial firms are paid to get things right for you and ensure you feel comfortable and in control.
Get impartial information:
Don’t let someone tell you what to do and take time to understand your options. You can find out more about your pensions and what options exist in retirement through official and impartial guidance like PensionWise and The Pensions Advisory Service.
For advice specific to your circumstances and what is best for you, you consider taking professional financial advice. When choosing a financial adviser, be sure to check they are listed on the FCA register.
Pension Liberation Deals
The earliest you can take your pension benefits is from your 55th birthday, an age set by the government. Some organisations promise early access to pension savings, but the costs are high and the impacts on your future financial wellbeing are significant.
So-called ‘Pension Liberation’ arrangements may not be illegal, but you should avoid them at all costs because they can cost you dearly. You can expect:
- An immediate tax charge of 55% from HMRC (known as an ‘unauthorised payment charge’) on any pension savings you access by such arrangements because your pension should only be used to support your retirement
- A very high arrangement fee from the organisation, commonly 30% of any pension savings you access