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Employers concerned about pensions scams

Eight in 10 (84%) employers believe their staff may be at risk from pensions scams when April’s pensions freedoms come into effect, according to research by Jelf Employee Benefits.

The research also found only 3% of employers think their employees are aware of the risks of possible pensions scams.

More than half (55%) of employers said they will be taking action to make their staff aware of the potential risks. Of those employers, 19% will be providing education sessions and 35% intend to write to employees.

Jelf Employee Benefits head of benefits strategy Steve Herbert said despite April being just around the corner, the rules remain “something of a work in progress”.

“That provides a shroud of confusion, which will be meat and drink to the slick and professional criminal organisations whose mission is to separate savers from some or all of their retirement savings,” he warned.

“The key to avoiding any financial scam is awareness and education – and this is most certainly true in the complex area of pension savings.”

NOW:Pensions CEO Morten Nilsson told HR magazine the freedoms, which allow people aged over 55 to access money from their pension pots whenever they choose, offer “shady operators a golden opportunity to target vulnerable yet potentially cash-rich retirees with illegal, expensive or highly speculative investment propositions”.

He added: “In the worst-case scenario, victims of these scams can lose some, or even all of their retirement savings, leaving them having to live off the state pension. These reforms have been very rushed and information about the guidance service has been slow to arrive.

“Employers have a critical role to play in raising awareness of these scams, directing retiring staff to the [government’s] Pension Wise service and to other resources designed to help keep their pension pots safe.”