Pension reviews – what you need to know

If you’ve been offered a free pension review, beware.

Pension freedoms introduced in 2015 have led to a sharp increase in people being cold-called by scammers offering free reviews, with the aim of tricking them into handing over their retirement savings.

This type of scam typically involves someone offering to review your pension for free, and then suggesting you move your savings into an investment scheme promising returns that appear too good to be true. Only later do you discover that these returns never materialise, and that you’ve lost some or all of your pension savings. Read our blog post on how to protect yourself from pension scams

Cold call ban

Fortunately, a ban on savers being cold-called about anything to do with their pension came into force on January 9, 2019. That means it is now illegal for companies to telephone you or send you unsolicited texts and e-mails about your pension.

However, that doesn’t mean scammers will just disappear. If anything, they’ll be looking at more sophisticated ways to part you from your pension savings.

How to protect yourself

The good news is there are several ways to check whether a company offering pensions advice is legitimate.

First, they must be regulated by the city regulator the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). You can search the Financial Services register to see whether a company is regulated.

If the company is on the FCA register, the next step is to call the FCA’s Consumer Helpline on 0800 111 6768 to check that it is permitted to give pension advice.

If you don’t use a company that is authorised by the FCA, this means you won’t have access to the Financial Ombudsman Service or the Financial Services Compensation Scheme and could lose some or all of your retirement savings if things go wrong.