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FCA: Pension scammers target East of England most

The East of England is the region where people have experienced the highest percentage of scam attempts on their pensions or investments over the past 12 months, the FCA says.

Its latest Financial Lives survey published today looks at the financial situation of people across the UK and highlights where people may be more vulnerable.

The report shows nearly a quarter of adults have experienced an unsolicited approach about pensions or investments that might be a scam in the past 12 months.

Results are lower for rural areas at 20 per cent compared with urban areas at 24 per cent, and the East of England is the region most affected by unsolicited approaches.

Other areas where higher than average proportions of adults have experienced an unsolicited approach about pensions or investments include Essex at 31 per cent and Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire, both on 29 per cent.

Areas where lower than average proportions of adults have experienced an unsolicited approach about pensions or investments include South Yorkshire at 14 per cent and Eastern Scotland at 16 per cent.

Quilter responsible business director Jane Goodland says: “These statistics should act as a very serious wakeup call and show how incredibly vulnerable the average UK family is in terms of their financial wellbeing.

“The government needs to scrutinise figures from the FCA’s survey as a matter of urgency. Battling feeble financial resilience should be at the top of its to-do list, no matter the political backdrop and despite all eyes being on Brexit.”

She adds: “While people in rural areas are more satisfied with their circumstances, perhaps because they are under less pressure to keep up with the latest trend, they are also more likely to be vulnerable, with those in the city more astute, but less satisfied.

“Creating a policy to combat such a divergence and help the entire UK population may seem impossible, but there is a simple solution that can help – financial education.”

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  1. Any benefits resulting from financial education, presumably as part of the national education curriculum in schools, are unlikely to take anything less than decades to filter through. A clear strategy is needed NOW and on that the FCA seems so far not to have come up with anything much at all. I’ve seen beware of scams leaflets issued with share div notices and perhaps a few FCA-authorised providers have started to issue them too, but what is really needed is a concerted campaign via as many media channels as possible, including for example radio, TV, newspapers and InterNet pop-ups.

    That said, given that almost all scammers are unregulated, do their activities fall within the purview of the FCA? Surely it should be concentrating its resources on better regulation of the regulated community.

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