Pensions Scam Victims Losing £Tens-of-Thousands

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By Alan Steel

Now unless you’ve been copying Rip Van Winkle this year, you’ll have heard about “older investors” being conned out their life savings.

Yep, these “unscrupulous advisors” have been phoning out the blue convincing the over 55s to free up their pension pots from their so-called straitjackets.

According to the FCA (UK’s Financial Regulators) a third of over 75s and a fifth of over 55s have been targeted by “scammers” (or crooks as they’re better known). 

So what happens if you take their calls and fall for their patter?  You’ll say goodbye to your life savings

It’s as simple as that.  And with no redress.  Gone for good.

A report says that victims lost £32,000 on average this year. 

Ouch!

Journalists and commentators, despite being completely unqualified, are exempt from the rules on giving independent financial advice, and so can “give advice” to their heart’s content with no accountability when things go wrong.

I heard of one poor soul handing over his £360,000 pension fund to a crook who cold called him convincing him that investing in car parking spaces in the Sahara Desert was too good to pass up. 

Too good to be true more like. 

Sure enough his money’s now gone.

You may wonder how we got into this mess.  Well like pensions options these days it’s all rather complicated.  It starts with the astonishing fact that we’ve never had any structured financial education at school, college or university.  Decade after decade young adults leave full time education without having a scooby about taxes, interest rates, inflation, saving or investing.  Fact.

Even worse is there’s too many of us who never grasped simple arithmetic, never mind maths.  Actuary Ned Cazalet who writes in plain English puts it neatly… “the problem with investing is that 50% don’t know what 50% is”.  Quite.

Add to that a crazy system where to give independent pensions advice we’re required by law to have the equivalent of a university degree in the subject and then prove a structured process of continuous learning. Whereas journalists and commentators, despite being completely unqualified, are exempt from such rules so can “give advice” to their heart’s content with no accountability when things go wrong.

Don’t fall for it. Get some good advice instead.

After all, it’s your money.

Alan Steel, Chairman, Alan Steel Asset Management

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