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.