Regulation

Work and Pensions Committee raises concerns over FCA scams team

It says the FCA "should review whether it dedicates sufficient resource to combat active pension scams".

Rozi Jones
|
5th August 2019
call centre pension scam cold phone
"Government and regulators should not wait for the industry to fail to act voluntarily as they have so many times in the past."

The Work and Pensions Committee has raised concerns about the number of staff at the FCA tackling scams after finding out that its dedicated scams team only consisted of approximately 10 people out of 3,700 FCA staff.

The Committee says that with latest reports showing that "£2bn was lifted out of pension savings by unscrupulous advisers" in the past year, the FCA "should review whether it dedicates sufficient resource to combat active pension scams".

However in response, the FCA said that while its specialist supervisory team consists of only 10 full-time members of staff, it has far more employees working on scams and similar issues.

An FCA spokesperson said: “The number of people working on pension scams is far greater than 10. While there are 10 full-time dedicated permanent staff working on this, overall we currently have over 100 full-time staff working on pension scams and similar issues.

“This includes the specialist supervision team, the pension scam intelligence team, the whistleblowing team, the campaigns team, the firm and customer contact centre, as well as other areas around the FCA.”

In its latest report on the UK pensions industry, the Work and Pensions Committee said that it is “unconvinced” the industry will rise to the challenge of providing clear, transparent information to pension schemes about the costs and charges of investments.

It says “Government and regulators should not wait for the industry to fail to act voluntarily as they have so many times in the past”, and should instead move now to legislate for mandatory disclosure to a set format, for both defined contribution and defined benefit schemes.

The Committee has also reiterated its call for a 0.75% cap from the outset on FCA decumulation pathways, but says they "must not become a substitute for guidance"

It is urging the FCA to implement a robust monitoring programme for the effectiveness of the investment pathways, including value for money comparisons with other available products, in partnership with any other DWP monitoring work of the pension freedoms.

Frank Field MP, Chair of the Committee, said: “Ripping off pension savers could be eliminated. The select committee is calling on the Government to shine the searchlights into that part of the financial industry that has settled down to misinforming, mischarging, overcharging and making a fat living off the hard-earned savings of pensioners. Government and regulators should not wait for the industry to fail to act voluntarily as they have so many times in the past. It must put the full force of the law behind such changes.”

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