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Pension Safeguarding: how pension transfers are kept safe from scams

Transferring from one pension to another often means a lot of money and benefits are being handled. This opens up the possibility for fraud. The Pensions Scheme Act 2021 means there are now new protections to help your pension provider keep your transfers safe against possible scams.

What happens when I’m looking to transfer?

Since 2013 pension providers have been required to carry out checks on your proposed transfer and document their findings.

In some instances, this may raise concerns about the scheme you’re looking to transfer into. Under the old rules, your pension provider could only make you aware of their concerns. Now though, they’re able to prevent the transfer going ahead.

New additional safeguarding steps: red and amber flags

New legislation now allows pension providers to express their concerns about your transfer under two categories, red flags or amber flags.  

Red flags 

If your pension provider identifies any red flags while carrying out these additional checks, they can now prevent the transfer from going ahead. This safeguards your pension benefits from being lost.

Amber flags 

If your pension provider’s checks have identified an amber flag this could mean that you’re at risk of being scammed. If so, they’ll refer you for a Pension Safeguarding Guidance appointment with MoneyHelper. This appointment is independent, impartial, free to use and backed by the government.

Your pension provider will give you a weblink to book the appointment. You’ll need to book and complete the appointment yourself.

Pension Safeguarding Guidance appointment

This appointment gives you the chance to speak to a specialist about your situation.

You’ll get:

  • guidance to help you identify if you’re at risk of being scammed
  • information on additional checks you can make to help you feel confident in your decisions, and
  • a summary of the dangers of pension scams.

This will let you consider if these apply to your own situation before you decide whether to proceed with the transfer.

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