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Pensions Regulator warns against fraud

The Pensions Regulator has warned pension schemes that it will not hesitate to use its enforcement powers if it uncovers fraudulent or dishonest behaviour during the downturn.

It has also reminded trustees and employers of their legal duties to come forward as a whistle-blower if they have concerns over how a scheme is being run.

In a statement issued to the regulated community, the Pensions Regulator states that the risk of fraud and dishonesty is very real. It suggests scheme members may be targeted to access their pension assets through trust-busting or pension liberation activities.

It flags up the fact that those who attempt to engage in fraudulent or dishonest behaviour are at risk of both civil and criminal investigation and that the regulator will take action in line with the relevant authorities to secure assets for members and to sanction against wrong-doing.

Chief executive Tony Hobman says: “In these tougher times, we will continue to monitor the economic situation and, along with our partners, to continue to focus on the key risks in the system to ensure that the promises made in pensions are upheld.

“We remain assured that the regulatory framework is flexible enough to cope with the impact of the economic downturn, and will continue to remain vigilant through the downturn and encourage others to do the same, and to contact us if they have concerns.

“In doing, we hope to ensure uniform adherence to the high standards shown by the vast majority to secure a level playing field and the long-term protection of UK pensions.”

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