Pension bodies unite to reassure over Covid-19
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Seven bodies with responsibility for protecting UK pension savers’ pots have joined forces to create an information guide to reassure scheme members amid concern about the impact of the Covid-19 crisis on financial wellbeing in the UK.
The Pension Protection Fund (PPF) has joined forces with the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS), the Money and Pensions Service (Maps), The Pensions Regulator (TPR), the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and The Pensions Ombudsman to create the guide for pension savers.
The guide – which can be found on the PPF website – outlines all the protections that are in place and directs savers where they can go to seek free, impartial guidance should they have any further questions.
The move comes as both the PPF and FSCS report an increase in the number of enquiries they have received from concerned pension savers seeking guidance during the Covid-19 pandemic. The FCA, TPR, and Maps are all actively working to raise awareness of the risk of opportunistic pension scams at this time.
Prior to the Covid-19 crisis, YouGov research found that three quarters (73%) of UK savers were concerned about the security of their retirement savings, with almost a quarter of that group (23%) concerned about the risk of falling victim to a pensions scam.
The industry bodies anticipate that these concerns will have been further exacerbated by the current situation.
Minister for pensions and financial inclusion Guy Opperman said:"We're doing whatever it takes to ensure people are supported through these unprecedented times and this guide is a useful addition to the measures pensions bodies have already taken to assist savers, such as TPR's transfer warnings and reporting easements.
"Keeping people informed is vital, and I welcome the coordinated approach being taken by the different pension bodies to assist anyone who needs advice or guidance."
PPF chief executive Oliver Morley added:"There are over ten million members of corporate defined benefit schemes across the UK who may not be aware of our role in protecting them should their scheme or sponsoring employer be unable to pay their pensions in the future.
"It's really important that those saving into any scheme are aware of the measures that are in place to protect them. I'm delighted that we're coming together with our partners across the industry to reinforce this message and launch this guide."
TPR chief executive Charles Counsell agreed:"By working together, all organisations whose goal it is to protect savers are at their most effective, and so I welcome this guide as a useful tool to drive confidence in pensions.
"Among the biggest threats to pensions are scammers, and the guide gives important advice to savers on how to protect themselves, particularly as we battle through the Covid-19 crisis. By helping savers spot the signs of a scam and highlighting where they can get advice, guidance
Pensions and Lifetime Savings Association (PLSA) director of policy & research Nigel Peaple noted:"At this time of national crisis, pension trustees want savers to be reassured that while for many people the pandemic will be a cause of heightened anxiety about their finances, their pension need not be a reason to worry.
"Pension savings are well protected, carefully managed and sensibly diversified to be resilient to this kind of scenario. United with the rest of the pensions industry, the PLSA supports this guide as a really important resource to help ensure savers get the information they need to make informed financial decisions."