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Pensions regulator considers ‘watch list’ in liberation clamp-down

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The Pensions Regulator is considering introducing a pension liberation “watch list” as part of a clamp-down on fraudulent schemes.

TPR is part of a task force comprising the Government, police and other agencies attempting to tackle the rise in the number of people accessing their pension before age 55 using a liberation scheme.

A number of providers, including Aviva and Friends Life, say they have experienced a significant increase in transfers to “high risk” schemes in recent months. 

Aviva rejected 322 transfers between October 2012 and May this year, while Friends has blocked 482 transfers in the first five months of 2013.

Speaking at the National Association of Pension Funds DC conference in London today, TPR head of DC regulation Darran Burton said: “We estimate £400m has gone in pension liberation fraud and it is on the increase. It affects everybody in the industry and it gives us all a bad reputation.

“We have asked people running pension schemes to be extra vigilant and withhold transfers where they look suspicious.

“We are working behind the scenes with the DWP to address problems around registration and to provide protection for people who do withhold transfers.

“People have also asked us to produce a ‘watch list’ of dodgy schemes. We are looking at that but obviously there are some legal challenges there for us as a regulator in doing that.”

In an interview with Money Marketing last month, pensions minister Steve Webb said the DWP is considering introducing tougher rules to discourage pension liberation schemes.

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  1. This whole section of the industry should be shut down now before any clever solicitors find a way of leeching the FSCS of our monies in recompense.

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