View more on these topics

Apfa: FCA’s inertia over pension scammers


At the risk of repeating myself, I am going to return to a topic I raised a couple of months ago: reform of the Financial Services Compensation Scheme and pension scams.

In this case, there is a happy coincidence in the aims of the regulator, Government and advisers. It is in no one’s interests that consumers are seduced into high risk or fraudulent investments in which they are highly likely to lose their money. If an adviser is involved, they may have recourse to the FSCS but it is surely better in terms of consumer protection for the FCA to prevent these losses in the first place.

And yet, the FCA has been slow to take action. I have had a number of discussions with various officials. And while there are a number of things they can point to, action taken so far has not been effective in stemming the tide. There is a worrying inertia. It seems to have been abandoned to the “too difficult” box. The FCA seems to want prior proof that a measure would be effective to consider it.

The list of products unsuitable for retail clients needs constant updating and it needs to be more difficult for consumers to access to them. Maybe more action is needed on the use of introducers. The FCA points to the existing framework and has issued guidance but I do not see this having the traction needed to change behaviour. The scammers are exploiting grey areas in the system to give themselves credibility. It should be clear cut that they are not legitimate.

It may be that our ideas would not have the desired effect but proactive exploration of a solution is needed. Accepting the status quo is untenable because the system as it is is not working. People are being conned out of their pensions. The FCA needs to do more.

Chris Hannant is director general at Apfa



FOS reveals the tactics behind scams and fraud

The Financial Ombudsman Service has set out the scale of fraud carried out in the financial services sector with £6m lost to scams in just three months. In its latest newsletter, the FOS says scammers are getting customers to reveal their financial information by pretending to be from the ombudsman, with this tactic used in […]


High Court winds up £3m Ucis pension liberation scam

A Preston-based pension liberation scheme with more than £3m of investments has been wound up following an Insolvency Service investigation. Thames Trustees convinced customers to move their pension fund into the Westminster Pension Scheme by promising a cash payment or commission on investments. In reality, Westminster was a pension liberation scheme and gave clients illegal […]


High Court winds up fraudulent gold mining scheme

Five companies that collectively banked more than £330,000 from a fraudulent gold mining investment scheme in South America have been wound up by the High Court. An Insolvency Service investigation discovered that the five companies – called Santo Montana, Lorem Ipsum Trade Services, Cedar Trade Services, McKinley & Grant, and Evolution Trade Services – were […]

Five ways to invest in the connected world

Smart utility metering; fitness trackers; connected cars; smart factories; precision agriculture: the internet of things encompasses myriad applications. But how do you gain exposure – and profit – from this growing trend, asks Neptune fund manager & CTO Ali Unwin. Read more: Important information Investment risks Neptune funds may have a high historic volatility rating […]

Navigating volatility

The making of any fund can be seen in how it responds to crises and opportunities. In this short video, Head of Multi Asset at Royal London Asset Management Trevor Greetham outlines how the Royal London Global Multi Asset Portfolios or GMAPs navigated through Brexit and the US election cycle. He also highlights the importance […]


News and expert analysis straight to your inbox

Sign up


There are 2 comments at the moment, we would love to hear your opinion too.

  1. Hi Chris

    Given your comments maybe you could sign and support this petition personally and through the AFPA by circulating it to members

  2. Quite simply, its not in the FCA’s best interests to be ahead of the game (to solve problems before they become into being)

    It cements their need in the eye of the public, and more importantly to those looking in from Westminster !

    They must rub their hands with glee, whilst giving out a menacing chuckle, every time another horse runs out the stable door, as it must be said, it guarantees their sorry existence for another 5 years or so

Leave a comment