06/04/2020

Coronavirus and pensions: regulators urge savers to remain calm

06/04/2020

Coronavirus and pensions: regulators urge savers to remain calm

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Scottish savers are being urged to remain calm as the coronavirus crisis continues to unfold across the country.

Leading bodies The Pensions Regulator (TPR) and the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) have joined forces with The Money and Pensions Service (MaPS) to raise concerns that the impact of the pandemic and personal finances may make savers more vulnerable to scams or decision making that could damage their long-term financial interests.

“Pensions remain a safe long-term investment for your retirement and it’s important to avoid hasty decisions about cash that’s taken a lifetime to build,” said Charles Counsell, TPR’s Chief Executive.

“We urge you not to transfer your pension into another arrangement now and regret the decision later. If you’re worried about your pension savings, take the time to understand what options you have available. There is no need to rush”

He added: “For those who have a final salary pension, staying in your existing scheme is still likely to be the best long-term arrangement. All savers should be very cautious about making changes at this time.

“More than ever before, you should visit The Pensions Advisory Service website for impartial guidance before making any decision about your retirement or get financial advice from a Financial Conduct Authority-authorised financial advisor.”

What pensions advice is available?

In a bid to help people make positive financial decisions during the outbreak the trio of regulatory bodies is calling on savers to seek advice from the Pensions Advisory Service website.

The site offers straightforward, jargon-free advice, to help people make an informed decision about retirement or savings.

Speaking of the impact the virus could have on pensions Charlotte Jackson, Head of Pensions Operations and Consumer Protection at MaPS said: “This is a very worrying time for people. For those on the point of retiring, the impact of the virus on the financial markets and therefore on pension savings has been damaging.

“If you are in a workplace pension, investments are designed to deliver over the long term with measures in place to reduce the risks faced by investors as they approach retirement.

“However, if you have chosen to invest your retirement savings yourself or were looking to retire soon then you may find yourself having to accept a lower income or retiring later. The key thing is to take as much time as you can and try not to panic.”

She continued: “Most importantly, before taking any major decisions relating to your pension take the time to get independent guidance or advice. You can call the Pension Advisory Service on 0800 011 3797 or make an appointment with Pension Wise by going online.”

How to spot scams

Scots are also being encouraged to be aware of scams during the coronavirus crisis.

As the unprecedented outbreak as an impact on companies across the UK, including those listed on the stock market, the regulatory bodies are warning that the instability can lead to an increase in scams and the number of people attempting to take advantage of the situation.

People are being encouraged to find out more about scams and how to protect themselves on the ScamSmart website, including people who are already retired and considering their options again.

Scammers typically contact people out of the blue through a range of different methods, including via telephone, email, text or online advertising.

They will use false information and claims in a bid to gain trust including:

  • claiming to be authorised by the FCA
  • stating they don’t need to be FCA authorised as they aren’t providing information or advice themselves
  • claiming to act on behalf of the FCA or government service Pension Wise

In a bid to support people during the coronavirus outbreak Mark Steward, the FCA’s Executive Director of Enforcement and Market Oversight, is calling on Scots to be vigilant with their financial decisions.

“Fraudsters will exploit the coronavirus to prey on anxiety and fear of savers and investors, especially those who may be vulnerable,” he said.

“That’s why we’re urging anyone who is thinking about transferring their pension to check who they are dealing with and only use firms authorised by the FCA.

“Reject all unexpected and unsolicited offers; get to know the warning signs of scams, like high rates of return which sound too good to be true, so-called special offers or pressure to make a quick decision and check our tips and advice on our ScamSmart website.”

 

If you’re retired or about to retire and worried about your finances and debt during the coronavirus, talk to Carrington Dean. As Scotland’s debt specialist we are proud to provide simple, reliable advice during this national health crisis and help provide solutions that suit your needs. Call 0808 253 3466 for free advice.

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