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Govt reveals tough new sanctions for pensions guidance fraudsters

Anyone caught impersonating the Government’s “guidance guarantee” risks being hit with a fine or even a jail sentence under tough new proposals tabled by pensions minister Steve Webb today.

The Government has proposed a series of amendments to the Pension Schemes Bill today as it looks to cement guidance quality standards and protect savers from fraudsters.

This includes creating a new criminal offence of “falsely claiming to be giving pensions guidance under Treasury arrangements”.

Under the amendment, it will be illegal for a person who is not a designated guidance provider to describe themselves as a person offering guidance or to “behave, or otherwise hold himself out, in a manner which indicates…that he is doing so.”

A person guilty of an offence under these rules could face up to 51 weeks in prison or a fine, or both.

Furthermore, where a designated guidance provider fails to comply with standards set out by the Treasury, the provider could be required to pay redress to those affected by the failure.

While the guidance will initially be delivered by The Pensions Advisory Service and Citizens Advice, the Government has left the door open for new guidance providers to be designated by the Treasury.


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There are 10 comments at the moment, we would love to hear your opinion too.

  1. Christopher Wicks 21st October 2014 at 11:36 am

    Could be interesting. What do they mean by ‘behave … In a manner which indicates he is going so’? Unless carefully drafted this could catch genuine pension consultants who will be going over exactly the same ground, only unlike the ‘guidance’ they will actually be recommending solutions which their clients can implement. The whole thing is a stupid populist idea which will be of little value to anyone due to the lack of tangible solutions. Pension scheme members will still need to seek advice to actually draw their benefits once they have has their chat around the subject, paid for by financial advisers and pension schemes.

  2. Interesting and would be welcomed if the actual definition of GUIDANCE is also clarified as opposed to ADVICE. Based on yesterdays news this would mean the MAS cannot offer guidance as the Treasury has rejected them. Does this mean that they will offer advice instead, which is actually guidance, but called advice.

    THIS IS REALLY GETTING ME FRUSTRATED. MAS states everywhere it gives advice, then become regulated and fund your own business.

  3. What could possibly go wrong?

    So, only those impersonating the guidance guarantee risks prosecution? The unregulated fraudsters can just carry on as is then.

  4. At the same time can we make it a crime to impersonate a regulated financial adviser? First person to be charged would Caroline Rookes.

  5. Got to love how they make policy up on the hoof without thinking things through.

  6. Well intentioned but idiotic!

  7. So giving ‘advice’ if not regulated should be upgraded to a hanging offence then, no?

  8. These companies just do not care…. I’m registered with the Telephone Preference Service and yet still received numerous calls from EMCAS (the claims management company) amongst others even though they are not permitted to call.

    If a Company is looking to dupe consumers it’s already imoral therefore legislation is hardly going to matter to them and even where legislation exists, they are riding roughshod over it in any case.

    IMHO it’s the consumers who need to be educated, things like pension liberation only happen because people are unaware of the consequences. Legislating against it doesn’t affect this awareness.

  9. Another example of a law made for the purposes of public relations rather than any real chance of enforcement.

    When the current advertising standards are enforced then I might believe some new ones will be. I can’t be the only person who receive a regular call telling them their pension is underperforming, and in the last 5 years most pensions have fallen in value.

    Whilst we may overall welcome the proposed changes to pensions, the fraudsters will welcome it more.

  10. I’m Spartacus!

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