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Pensions regulator considers ‘watch list’ in liberation clampdown

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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. 

Speaking at the National Association of Pension Funds DC conference in London this week, 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.

“People have 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.

Hargreaves Lansdown head of financial planning Danny Cox says: “We would support the creation of a watch list but the regulator needs to act quickly because liberation is already a big problem.”

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