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TPR intervenes in 281 suspected scams since 2012

The year with the most interventions for suspected scams was 2013/14 when TPR used its powers 87 times 

The Pensions Regulator has used its enforcement powers in 281 cases of suspected scams since 2012, according to data published on its website.

The Freedom of Information Act request shows TPR has used its powers in 16 cases this year, 34 in 2016/17, 82 in 2015/16, 39 in 2014/2015, 87 in 2013/2014 and 23 in 2012/2013.

The Pensions Regulator’s enforcement powers under s72 of the Pensions Act have been mostly used for scams.

Other problematic areas for The Pensions Regulator include: avoidance, governance, defined benefit scheme funding, master trusts and scheme return breaches.

A TPR spokesman says: “The two most common areas in which we use our s72  power are anti avoidance investigations and suspected scams, although more recently we have used the power in a much wider range of scenarios, including to support the work we are doing to ensure compliance with basic governance standards.

He adds: “We have been open about our intention to intervene more frequently and act faster, as part of our commitment to be a clearer, quicker and tougher regulator. Effective regulation is essential to protect the benefits of members of occupational pension schemes and we are using the powers available to us across our full remit.”

Following a petition launched by Derbyshire-based financial adviser Darren Cooke of Red Circle Planning, the government is planning new measures to protect private pension savers from the threat of unscrupulous pension scammers.

Profile: Darren Cooke on being the face of the pension cold calling ban

These include a ban on cold calling in relation to pensions, including emails and text messages, a tightening of HMRC rules to stop scammers opening fraudulent pension schemes and tougher actions to help prevent the transfer of money from occupational pension schemes into fraudulent ones.

However, the Department for Work and Pensions has said the legislation would be tabled “when parliamentary time allows”, so it could be many months before the rules come in.

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