Inquiry urges Treasury to stop hounding victims of pension liberation scams
by Alex Varley-Winter, TTF’s Head of Media Relations & Investigative Reporting
Tax authorities ought to use their ‘discretion’ to stop hounding victims of pension liberation scams, argue MPs, in a landmark report published Sunday. If they cannot do so within the ambit of the Law, then the Government should look at changing it.
What is a pension liberation scam?
Ordinarily, you or your employer pay in a fixed amount into your pension pot year-on-year, accruing gradually into a large pot of money to assist you in your old age. If you try to access your pension pot early, before retirement age, you are hit with heavy tax penalties and charges.
However, pension “liberation” fraudsters have been a blight on the financial services industry for years. Often, they would offer their victims false incentives to pass control of their pension money over to them. They might claim, falsely, that a victim could draw down their pension early without any negative consequences if they transferred the pot to them.
It could then be moved offshore and into criminal hands. The victims then face a nightmare scenario of being pursued for tax on allegedly defrauded money.
The Pension Scams Inquiry reports:
“HMRC has been described as “unrelenting and uncompromising” in the pursuit of these charges. While the position taken by HMRC is legally correct, it has often lacked empathy or understanding of the impact that its demands have on victims”, this is why they advocate for change.
The impact on victims of these crimes is sadly nothing new. However, ‘pension freedom’ reforms enacted by the Government in 2015 meant that some savers were suddenly sitting ducks for vultures. It offered criminals a potentially convincing cover story for seizing hard-earned pension pots, claiming that they were offering their victims the “freedom” to invest their savings.
Fraudsters have also benefitted by publishing false and misleading adverts online, as tech giants are doing almost nothing to stamp out false claims.
The many facets of this crime scene were explored in the landmark report on Pension Scams released on Sunday. It has sprung from the Work and Pensions Committee’s Pension Scams inquiry, a probe that TTF campaigned for.
Of course nobody transfers a huge pension pot from one provider to another for no reason, they have to believe that they will benefit from the arrangement. So financial fraudsters – or their salespeople – may try to persuade victims is that you can access your pension early, without having to pay tax for doing so.
As the MPs note: “This is not correct. Someone who accesses their pension early faces an unauthorised payment charge of 40% and an unauthorised payment surcharge of 15%.”
Why would anybody believe it was legitimate? Scandalously, the fraudsters could also “register” themselves with HMRC online with minimal or no checks, and use that to build trust with their marks. Other ruses included, registering with the Pensions regulator, and paying financial advisers heavy rates of commission to promote the scheme. Sometimes IFAs were conned themselves, raising questions about due diligence.
How fraudsters’ marks were made to feel ‘safe’
TTF adviser and pension scam victim Sue Flood put Tom Kelly of the Daily Mail on the trail of the scandal in 2019. An ‘Ark’ scheme is a standard term for a safe place to put your savings. The fraudsters who targeted Sue referred to their service in such a way. It convinced Sue, her partner and hundreds of other victims to transfer their pension pots to crooks. Sue and her partner say they were told, falsely, that they could access their pension money early without any tax penalties. never saw their savings again – but the scheme that Sue had invested in was registered with HMRC and the Pensions Regulator.
At the Daily Mail Tom Kelly followed up on what Sue had told him. He found that more than 100 ‘rogue pension schemes’ had been ‘registered’ with HMRC online. He reported: ‘under rules introduced by Tony Blair’s government in 2006, HMRC enrolment could be secured online in minutes – and with virtually no checks.’
Victims’ testimony enhanced inquiry
Having gained a victim’s trust, scammers typically offer incentives for them to transfer their pension pot into the scammers’ effective control. Dennis Waite testified to the Pension Scams inquiry last year that he was offered a 5% incentive to transfer his Royal Mail Pension into a scheme that was “HMRC and TPR registered, so that made me feel safe”. His pension savings were then lost to the scheme.
Inquiry chair Stephen Timms asked: “Dennis, how much of your savings went into this scheme?“ Waite confirmed it was £108,000: “I did receive the 5% incentive, but about a year later I was waiting for the annual statement […] and nothing arrived. That is when I started to panic.” He drove down to what was meant to be the company office and found instead a ‘small virtual office’ – “That was when I knew” – he had been conned.
Dennis is now in his fifties and goes to work as a coach driver, but worries about his financial security in old age. “I don’t think I will be able to recoup what I have lost in the time I have left.”
The toll of tax appeals
Scam victim and TTF adviser Sue Flood gave evidence to the inquiry alongside Dennis Waite.
She has been appealing to tax tribunals for almost a decade, hammered with the costs of appealing each time as a victim of a confirmed ‘fraud on the power of investment’ in what is now referred to by victims in shorthand as ‘the Ark Scheme’.
Sue explained to me yesterday that appealing her tax bill — which sprang from her being a pension scam victim — will, she is advised, cost her almost £2k additionally year on year. Victims often suffer, further, from a lack of good legal representation.
She and her partner were scammed of £250k pension savings and face punitive tax charges of 40%, alongside these additional appeal charges, to boot.
The need for prevention, and compassion
Sue told the Pension Scams inquiry last year how HMRC’s DOTAS [Disclosure of Tax Avoidance Schemes] department had met with those running “the Ark scheme” in 2011. In her opinion: “They had a perfect opportunity to stop the scammers operating. They met the creators of the Ark scheme to discuss the structure, after concerns from seeding providers that were worried about the scheme.”
MPs are increasingly concerned for the welfare of scam victims like Sue Flood. If it is not within HMRC’s gift to use its ‘discretion’ to avoid hounding scam victims, then the Government must look at changing the law, MPs now say.
“HM Treasury should recognise that, in some clearly defined circumstances, where the saver has been the victim of a crime and made no financial gain from the early access, it may not be in the public interest to demand payment of tax due,” the MPs advise, calling for substantial shifts in tax policy towards victims. They state that HMRC’s position is not, however, ‘legally’ problematic.
A sharp light on secondary scammers
Importantly, the Committee’s report also slammed ‘secondary scammers’ who seek to profit dishonestly from victims’ desire to get their money back. Secondary scammers might target a victim by claiming that they can help them – but taking a hefty cut upfront for the service, whether or not they can really deliver any assistance at all.
The Inquiry report notes some concerning evidence on what may be secondary scamming. The evidence comes from the Association of British Insurers, an insurance industry trade association. They told the Inquiry:
“We are aware of a sudden increase in Claims Management Companies (CMCs) making claims against ceding schemes or advisers on behalf of victims for allowing bad transfers to go ahead. Astoundingly, these CMCs are sometimes set up by the same individuals as the companies that encouraged the transfers [of pension pots to rogue pension schemes] in the first place.”
Action needed by tech giants
The Committee also called for new laws to prevent tech giants offering a free-for-all to rogue pension schemes or investment scams. The Committee critiques the exclusion of investment scams from new law the Online Safety Bill (previously the Online Harms Bill) currently being forecasted and drafted.
TTF member and campaigning accountant Mark Taber gave evidence on the uselessness of big Tech to the pension scams Inquiry: “Google Ads has a 90% share of the online paid keyword search market in the UK. Paid keyword search is a highly efficient means for pensions & savings scammers to target their victims. Not only does it enable them to precisely reach potential victims through targeting keywords and phrases such as ‘top ISA rates’ but also they can instantly have an advert placed at the top of the paid search results and above the natural search results simply by outbidding genuine advertisers. Furthermore, fraudsters and scammers are able to outbid genuine advertisers because they have no intention of providing a return on or repayment of money they obtain from their victims.“
How Transparency Task Force helped to make inquiry happen
TTF and our members have been involved at all stages of this campaign. We will host a Symposium on the inquiry’s report in April, where engaged MPs will speak on what the Inquiry has revealed to them and what needs to change.
We are taking a raft of other actions to try to ensure that consumers receive the right care against financial crime. As Andy Agathangelou, TTF’s founder, writes:
- We campaigned to have an inquiry on pension scams opened by the Work and Pensions Select Committee
- The inquiry was opened
- We then produced 4 detailed written responses (1 of which contains so much sensitive information it hasn’t been published to the public)
- We gave testimony at an evidence session in Parliament
- We produced several video testimonies from scam victims; 3 of whom went on to be interviewed by the Select Committee during a further evidence session (one interview was conducted in private)
We also help to run the All Party Parliamentary Group on pension scams.
Disclosure sought from Tribunal on EcoHouse case
TTF made its first ever request for disclosure from the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal (SDT) earlier this month. We’re seeking more info on a sophisticated ponzi scheme that resulted in regulatory and enforcement action against solicitors.
The SDT is a court that specifically judges complaints against solicitors. In 2018 it struck off Charles Fraser-Macnamara (judgment here). A solicitor and a former conservative councillor, he had admitted allowing ‘misrepresentations’ to be made to investors in Eco-House.
The lie that fuelled EcoHouse fraud
In 2015 when journalists first covered the EcoHouse fraud, it was still widely, and wrongly, believed to be a Brazilian Government social housing investment scheme that had “collapsed”, reportedly owing investors at least £21M.
However, it has since emerged that EcoHouse Developments never owned the land in Brazil to begin with. It was an apparent ponzi scheme.
With victims dotted all over the world, the case may carry international significance. EcoHouse founder Anthony Armstrong Emery was arrested last year in the UAE on behalf of Interpol. He is to be extradited to Brazil for trial. Prior to this, Fraser-Macnamara ultimately was struck off in 2018.
TTF has applied to see if evidence underlying the SDT’s findings on Fraser-Macnamara can be disclosed to EcoHouse victims. That is, evidence beyond the judgment itself. Victims are understandably keen to get to the root of exactly what happened, and perhaps glean some clues on where their investments – running to more than £20,000 in every case – actually went.
Multiple counts of dishonesty
Bev Holder, of Stourbridge News reported at the time of Charles Fraser-Macnamara’s disciplinary tribunal on the claims of dishonesty:
“The tribunal heard investors were misled to believe Ecohouse owned land that would be developed, when in fact it did not own the land, and that funds were secure when they were not. Dishonesty was found proved in the case of both allegations.”
… “Dishonesty was also found proved in relation to the following allegations:
That Mr Fraser-Macnamara failed to maintain, preserve or deliver up adequate accounting records for Ecohouse.
That he profited from and misled members of the public into investing in Ecohouse when he knew it was operating a Ponzi scheme.
That he involved himself in a dubious scheme and/or allowed transactions which bore the hallmarks of fraud/money laundering.”
Despite so much confirmed misconduct, EcoHouse victims are still fighting for any form of compensation for their losses.
Meanwhile, a seemingly impenetrable fog hangs around this case. Victims do not yet know where their investments were disbursed to.
The Met Police’s Operation Bubwith continues to look into EcoHouse, but this investigation has run on now for many years. A sole police investigator, Richard Kirk, indicated in 2017 that he had ‘invaluable’ evidence for victims from PwC. He wrote that he could use PwC’s evidence to report back to individual investors on where their money went. It feels unfortunate then, to victims, that Kirk has since left the Met Police for a different police force. The papertrail he promised in 2017 has still not been disclosed. Victims who seek full and frank disclosure have repeatedly hit a brick wall on this case, we hope the SDT can shed more light on it.
Too long in the long grass? The Interest Rates Hedging scandal
Andrew Candy was “just a graphic designer running a business that wanted a mortgage on a property as a pension plan. And you know, 10 years later I’m sort of sat here with you splendid people fighting corruption … In banking and regulation that’s just truly astounding.”
Tens of thousands of small businesses were sold complex financial products that may have made it difficult for them to survive in the aftermath of the ’08 crash. They were forced to repay their debts at a substantially higher rate of interest.
Candy believes the scandal has been ‘kicked into the long grass’. We are all keen to see the outcome of a review of the scandal by John Swift QC, which is yet to report. In the interim, Candy and other pro-SME campaigners spearheaded the idea of hosting an event on Interest Rate Swaps.
That event will run later this week and should be rich in detail. Candy set out his thinking at another recent no-holds-barred symposium on Blackmore Bond (which you can watch online). The upcoming event should “shed further light on the balance sheet fraud that’s gone on with banks, the hidden credit facilities that have been manipulated [and] the shadow banking that goes on.”
Press Timeline of relevant articles:
06 Feb 2021 – Fraud victims suffer enough – guarantee will help innocent overcome shame of scamming by Daniel Jones for the Sun
05 Feb 2021 – Leader: The FCA’s leaders need to step up when things go wrong by Justin Cash for MoneyMarketing
04 Feb 2021 – Pension scam victims say regulators should have saved them from from losing life savings, by Jessica Beard for the Telegraph
05 Feb 2021 – U.S. Consumer watchdog sees surge in Robinhood complaints, some clients claim they can’t leave the app by Kate Rooney & Yasmin Khorram for CNBC
02 Feb 2021 – SMCR rules come back to bite FCA in mini-bond probe ‘rules around senior managers being held responsible for their actions have come back to bite the regulator’, by Daniela Esnerova for MoneyMarketing
02 Feb 2021 – Regulation must deliver transparency and protection for Buy Now Pay Later consumers by Alex Marsh for City A.M.
02 Feb 2021 – Bank chief Bailey ‘should be censured’ for failings by James Hurley for the Times
02 Feb 2021 – FCA criticised for trying to omit names from LCF report by Rachel Mortimer for FT Adviser
02 Feb 2021 – Poll: Should FCA executives bear personal responsibility for the London Capital and Finance fallout? by MoneyMarketing
01 Feb 2021 – Investment funds flouting new transparency rules by Patrick Hosking for the Times
01 Feb 2021 – MPs launch full inquiry into London Capital & Finance scandal with chairman declaring it will be “thorough and clear” by Jim Armitage for the Evening Standard
30 Jan 2021 – Analysis: Robinhood and Reddit protected from lawsuits by user agreement, Congress by Tom Hals for Reuters
29 Jan 2021 – The Financial Services Bill doesn’t provide the tough regulation we need by Professor Prem Sikka for Left Foot Forward
25 Jan 2021 – FCA urges clients of collapsed British Steel firm to consider claims by Sonia Rach for MoneyMarketing
22 Jan 2021 – HSBC chiefs to face MPs’ questions over Hong Kong protesters’ frozen accounts by Poppy Wood for City AM
21 Jan 2021 – MPs call on FCA to ‘hold bad advisers to account’ by Laura Purkess for CityWire
21 Jan 2021 – FCA told it lacks vision to tackle consumer issues by Amy Austin for FT Adviser
20 Jan 2021 – Mortgage Prisoner amendments blocked by Treasury, by Suleman Baig for Quadrin Group
18 Jan 2021 – Former Hong Kong lawmaker rejects HSBC’s explanation over frozen accounts by Reuters
18 Jan 2021 – Supreme Court Rejects Appeal to Overturn UK’s First Unexplained Wealth Order by National Law Review
18 Jan 2021 – British Virgin Islands’ governor launches inquiry into alleged corruption by Patrick Wintour for the Guardian
18 Jan 2021 – What we learned from a bumper FCA data dump by Justin Cash for MoneyMarketing
18 Jan 2021 – Wall Street fears bubble from Biden stimulus as retail investing booms by Katherine Greifeld, Claire Ballentine and Vildana Hajric for Independent.ie
17 Jan 2021 – Bobby Kennedy was right: GDP is a poor measure of a nation’s health by Larry Elliott for the Guardian
15 Jan 2021 – Mortgage prisoners accuse Treasury of working against them as wider FCA remit blocked by Owain Thomas for Mortgage Solutions
14 Jan 2021 – MP Vows To Keep Pushing Tougher Economic Crime Law by Richard Crump for Law360
13 Jan 2021 – Mortgage prisoner finance bill amendments struck down by Gary Adams for Mortgage Strategy
12 Jan 2021 – Hong Kong families with money trapped in closed law firm’s frozen bank accounts turn to government for low-interest loans by for South China Morning Post
12 Jan 2021 – Bitcoin: be prepared to lose all your money, FCA warns consumers by Kalyeena Makortoff for the Guardian
11 Jan 2021 – Insolvency firms put under investigation after scandals, by Louisa Clarence-Smith for the Times
07 Jan 2021 – Regulators and police say Covid lockdowns have driven up online pension scams and demand regulation of Google, Facebook and others by Jim Armitage for the Evening Standard
06 Jan 2021 – Why UK savers could fall through the cracks in Brexit regulation from the FCA by Jim Armitage for the Evening Standard
04 Jan 2021 – Bank of England fails to publish officials’ expenses by Alex Ralph for the Times
03 Jan 2021 – Five years on and still no answers over HBOS affair by Jill Treanor and Liam Kelly for Sunday Times
31 Dec 2020 – So, when WILL we learn truth about bank chiefs? Another year and still no sign of key HBOS probe by Lucy White for the Mail
24 Dec 2020 – ASIC drops investigation into Westpac, by Investor Daily in Australia
21 Dec 2020 – Financial Conduct Authority fines just ten wrongdoers this year by Patrick Hosking in the Times
19 Dec 2020 – Andrew Bailey could return to face MPs after damning report on London Capital & Finance scandal by Ben Martin & Patrick Hosking for the Times
18 Dec 2020 – Google urged to vet online financial promotions better by Huw Jones for Reuters
18 Dec 2020 – Financial Conduct Authority insiders warned of London Capital & Finance-style minibonds in 2013 but nothing was done by Jim Armitage for the Evening Standard
18 Dec 2020 – Blue Gate escapes $13.5 million Connaught fund fine from FCA by Huw Jones for Reuters
18 Dec 2020 – Executives at Financial Conduct Authority to lose bonuses over London Capital & Finance scandal by Ben Martin for the Times – Bosses at the Financial Conduct Authority will lose £205,000 in bonuses after the highly critical report on the regulator’s handling of the London Capital & Finance scandal
17 Dec 2020 – The fallout from the financial regulator’s shocking failure on LC&F is not over yet by Nils Pratley for the Guardian
17 Dec 2020 – FCA did not ‘effectively supervise’ collapsed mini-bond issuer LCF, says report by Matthew Vincent for the Financial Times “Members of the Transparency Task Force, a lobby group pushing for regulatory reform, pointed out that in his own representations to the Gloster review, Mr Bailey included a demand “to delete references to ‘responsibility’ resting with specific identified/identifiable individuals”.
17 Dec 2020 – Former Financial Conduct Authority boss Bailey apologises over handling of mini-bond scandal by Ben Martin for the Times
16 Dec 2020 – EU cannot be ‘captured’ by City of London, warns financial services chief by Sam Fleming and Jim Brunsden for the Financial Times
16 Dec 2020 – Treasurer plots ASIC shakeout by John Kehoe for Financial Review
15 Dec 2020 – How to remake Australia’s lame corporate watchdog by Pamela Hanrahan for Financial Review
08 Dec 2020 – MPs call for £2.6bn Equitable Life compensation by Adam Williams for the Telegraph
03 Dec 2020 – HMRC ‘treat the victims of pension scams like criminals’: Taxman has benefited from the ‘proceeds of crime’ MPs are told by Tom Kelly for Daily Mail
25 Nov 2020 – FSCS seeks extra £92m in interim levy by Daniela Esnerova for MoneyMarketing
25 Nov 2020 – Trump Administration Targets Banks Divesting From Fossil Fuels In New Anti-Climate Rule by Sharon Kelly for DeSmogBlog
23 Nov 2020 – Bank of England policymaker warns of ‘pandemic hangovers’, as private sector shrinks – as it happened by Graeme Wearden for the Guardian
16 Nov 2020 – Bank of England ‘failing’ on climate change reform by Philip Aldrick for the Times
16 Nov 2020 – Fed moves closer to joining global peers in climate-change fight by Ann Saphir for Reuters
14 Nov 2020 – Fraudsters will exploit Covid vaccine to con vulnerable, warns National Crime Agency by Charles Hymas for Telegraph
09 Nov 2020 – Ombudsman inundated with complaints about loans by Katherine Griffiths for the Times
09 Nov 2020 – Spike in personal pension cases at ombudsman by Rachel Mortimer for FT Adviser
09 Nov 2020 – Regulator: Climate risk ‘looms even larger’ than pandemic by Avery Ellfeldt for ClimateWire (U.S.)
08 Nov 2020 – How financial services watchdog has reacted to UK consumer worries in Covid by Hilary Osborne for Guardian
08 Nov 2020 – Five predictions for banking regulation in a Biden presidency by Jon Hill for Law 360
05 Nov 2020 – Martin Lewis warns of ‘epidemic of scams’ after ICU nurse loses £8,000 by Scott Edwards for Wales Online
05 Nov 2020 –FCA bans adviser trio jailed for sex offences by Rachel Mortimer for FT Adviser
03 Nov 2020 – ‘We haven’t received a penny’: Business interruption insurance row intensifies as owners fear payout delays, by Elizabeth Anderson for iNews
03 Nov 2020 – Aviva’s shares fiasco highlights weakness of the city watchdog by Patrick Hosking for the Times
02 Nov 2020 – Banks have done little to help the country through the pandemic, so why is the government rewarding them? by Simon Youel for the Independent
29 Oct 2020 – Calls to sack Malta financial regulator CEO by Cristian Angeloni for International Adviser
27 Oct 2020 – U.S. group urges Biden to use financial regulation to control climate change by Valerie Volcovici for Reuters
27 Oct 2020 – ‘Impact startups’ continue to raise funding during the pandemic despite difficulties faced by the wider tech startup sector by Sebastian Klovig Skelton for Computer Weekly
26 Oct 2020 – Why there must be thorough probe of claims made by Bank Signature Forgery Campaign – Greg Wright for the Yorkshire Post
26 Oct 2020 – Critics demand action over ‘flawed’ British Banking Resolution Service by James Hurley for the Times
24 Oct 2020 – Banks look to debt collectors to recover bounce back loans by Nicholas Megaw, Stephen Morris and Daniel Thomas for the FT
23 Oct 2020 – Bank Signature Forgery (film) by Nicholas Wilson for Corruption UK
22 Oct 2020 – UK fraud agency suffers string of senior departures by Kate Beioley for the FT
22 Oct 2020 – HSBC froze £1.5bn of customers’ cash in ‘dormant accounts’ – report by Kalyeena Makortoff & Juliette Garside for the Guardian
22 Oct 2020 – Work harder to find fraud, watchdog tells auditors by James Hurley for the Times
17 Oct 2020 – MPs pursue claims bank signatures were faked on court papers by Rupert Jones for the Guardian
16 Oct 2020 – We need universal digital ad transparency now by Laura Edelson, Erika Franklin Fowler and Jason Chuang for TechCrunch
15 Oct 2020 – Rising COVID-19 Rates Send NatWest Misselling Trial To Video by Bonnie Eslinger for Law 360
15 Oct 2020 – MPs Push Agencies to Act on Forged Signature Claims by Law360
13 Oct 2020 – Mark Carney says banks should link executive pay to Paris climate goals by Kalyeena Makortoff for the Guardian
12 Oct 2020 ‘It is time to reboot the competition regime for the modern, digital age’ by David Wighton, The Times
12 Oct 2020 – Gina Miller blasts FCA complaints scheme changes ‘unfair, immoral and illegal’ by Cristian Angeloni for Portfolio Adviser
12 Oct 2020 – MPs call for input on Pension Schemes Bill by James Phillips for Professional Pensions
10 Oct 2020 – Give pension trustees power to fight scammers, say MPs by Kenza Bryan for the Times
08 Oct 2020 – Freedom to transfer pensions should be stripped where scams are suspected, industry experts urge by Jessica Beard for the Telegraph
08 Oct 2020 – Planned pensions shake-up passes first Commons hurdle by Law 360
08 Oct 2020 – WPC chairman says transfer rules ‘must be changed’ by Amy Austin for FT Adviser
07 Oct 2020 – Tech giants share blame for pension scams, MPs told by Law 360
06 Oct 2020 – FCA opens 85 cases over pension scam concerns by Amy Austin for FT Adviser
03 Oct 2020 – Record number of savers fall victim to investment fraud as scam adverts stay on Google by Andrew Ellson for The Times
02 Oct 2020 – A New Theory of Soil by Alex Varley-Winter for SustainAct
11 Sep 2020 – The Hut Group facing fresh questions over governance after it reveals one of country’s best-known private equity barons to oversee pay policy by Lucy White for the Daily Mail
10 Sep 2020 London Capital and Finance investors relieved after court ruling opens route to compensation claims by Ben Chapman for the Independent
08 Sep 2020 – Change in law needed to stop scams, says Timms, by Amy Austin for FT Adviser
05 Sep 2020 Crime Agency under fire over bank signature forgery by Andy Verity for BBC
24 Aug 2020 – Financial Conduct Authority rushes to minimise compensation for its failings by James Hurley for The Times
04 Aug 2020 – Have your say: Will the WPC’s inquiry into the impact of pension freedoms be too overshadowed by Covid-19 impacts? by Professional Pensions
03 Aug 2020 – ‘“I’m 39, have lost my job and am in debt – can I unlock my £18k pension?” … DON’T do it!’‘ by Steve Webb for This is Money
01 Aug 2020 – ‘I lost £2.3m after I was conned into transferring my pension’ by Jessica Beard for the Telegraph
31 Jul 2020 ‘Common sense’ prevails as pension freedom withdrawals fall 17% — But drop is expected to be ‘a short-term blip’ by Robbie Lawther for International Adviser
31 Jul 2020 – HMRC figures show plunging pension freedom withdrawals by Hope William-Smith for Professional Adviser
28 Jul 2020 – MPs launch inquiry into pension scams by Tom Kelly for Daily Mail ; UK Pension Scams Under Scrutiny After 2015 Relaxation in Rules by Reuters & MPs launch wide-ranging pension scams probe by Justin Cash for MoneyMarketing
24 Jul 2020 – US business groups seek steps to stamp out online fraud by Leonie Barrie for Just Style
22 Jul 2020 – Pension scams increase amid lockdown by Sophie Smith for Pensions Age & Missed Opportunity to Use Victims in Scam Work by Amy Austin for FT Adviser
21 Jul 2020 Londongrad Calling: Is Europe’s Laundromat the ‘New Normal’? by Mark Conrad
20 Jul 2020 Campaigners Aim to Create Pension Scam Database by Michael Klimes & Government eyes unauthorised firms by Justin Cash for MoneyMarketing
17 Jul 2020 – Year ‘dominated’ by FCA shortcomings as 205 complaints made, by Rachel Mortimer for FT Adviser
29 Jun 2020 – MPs Pushed to Launch Pension Scam Inquiry by Amy Austin for FT Adviser & Lawmakers Urged To Open Inquiry Into Pension Scams by Martin Croucher for Law 360
11 Jun 2020 – Blackmore minibond investors get just £5m back by Ben Martin for the Times
14 May 2020 – Under Rising Pressure on Climate, JP Morgan Rejects Shareholders’ Calls to Disclose Carbon Footprint by Alex Varley-WInter for DeSmog
11 May 2020 – FCA urged to build public trust in independent reviews by Rachel Mortimer for FT Adviser
30 Apr 2020 – FCA was warned three years ago about mini-bond firm Blackmore Bond, which collapsed with £45m of savers’ money by Ben Chapman for the Independent
15 Apr 2020 – Met police lose two thirds of finance officers as fraud soars by Ben Ellery for the Times
25 Mar 2020 – Care Home Wants NatWest Docs in Misselling Fight by Law360
20 Mar 2020 – Connaught review delayed as Covid-19 concerns loom by Rachel Mortimer in FT Adviser
07 Jan 2020 – It’s time to keep your pensions promise, Boris! The PM pledged to help these victims of a huge scam FOUR years ago – and they’re still waiting by Tom Kelly for the Daily Mail.
29 Dec 2019 – ‘Lambs to the slaughter – tens of thousands of savers have lost up to £10billion in rogue pensions schemes sanctioned by the government… and now the taxman is threatening VICTIMS with fines’, and ‘Making millions from other people’s misery’: A Government adviser, call centre chief and pension scheme director are among those who stand accused of involvement in pension schemes that exploited loophole in the law by Tom Kelly for the Daily Mail
15 Aug 2019 – Victims hit by Connaught’s collapse blast City watchdog for ‘whitewashing’ independent review by Lucy White for Daily Mail
05 Aug 2019 – Plunder in paradise: The ‘adviser’ behind a Costa scam that has cost expat pensioners £25MILLION – and led one to attempt suicide by Laura Shannon for Mail on Sunday
05 Jul 2019 Government-owned bank ‘forging signatures’ in repossession cases by Andy Verity for BBC
18 Jun 2019 – “I came home to find my house had been stolen!” by Angela Ellis-Jones for the Daily Mail
20 Jun 2019 – FCA orders review of its handling of Connaught collapse by Rachel Mortimer for FT Adviser
13 Jun 2019 – Investigation into disgraced RBS small business unit branded a ‘whitewash’ by MPs by Ben Chapman for the Independent
07 Jun 2019 – Guernsey Stock Exchange disputes FCA account over Woodford by David Thorpe in FT Adviser
29 Mar 2019 – MPs call for inquiry into alleged forgery of signatures by Andy Verity for BBC
15 Feb 2017 – RBS accused of fraud & forgery by customers and ex-employee by Andrew Hosken for The World Tonight BBC Radio 4
22 Dec 2016 – Solicitors suspended for roles in collapsed Brazilian investment scheme by Nick Hilborne for Legal Futures
23 Sep 2016 – Which? makes scams super-complaint by Adam French for Which?
08 Aug 2016 – The Latest Bank Interest Rate Scandal Signals A Crisis Of Australian Democracy by Professor Carl Rhodes for New Matilda