Are pensions the next financial scandal in waiting?

Saving for retirement is one of the most important financial decisions you will ever make. It's also one of the most complicated with a myriad of rules and legislation to try and wade through or understand.

It has never been more important to be able to trust your financial advisor and/or insurance company.

Generally speaking the decisions, you make around retirement planning or buying an annuity are ones that will determine your future prosperity. A key element of enjoying retired life is determined by how healthy our finances are.

Unfortunately, there are many areas where the financial services industry has let the consumer down and it seems pensions are likely to be the next big scandal.

The issues broadly fall into two categories:


Pre-retirement planning

  • Were you advised to take out a personal pension instead of joining a final salary scheme?
  • Were you advised to top up your pension through a Free Standing AVC rather than paying money into the scheme itself through AVC’s
  • Have you been advised to transfer your monies into a personal pension without fully understanding the additional risks your were taking on?

At retirement

  • What advice were you given when you came to buy your annuity at the time of your retirement and did they get you the best annuity that was available?


These issues are both historical and current

pension scam

Even if your pension is in payment, it is worth checking with an expert that your plans were sold appropriately and correctly.

To give you an idea of the scale of this issue This is Money quoted in 2009 that over 1 million people were incorrectly told to leave final salary schemes. Often these were people in some of the best schemes in the world such as the Police or Nurses in the NHS.

A six-year investigation by The Telegraph in 2014 showed that up to 1 in 4 people were entitled to a larger pension than they actually received as a result of receiving poor advice. This is hundreds of thousands of people who are currently receiving less income than they were and are entitled to.

Since the 90’s every consumer has been entitled to take their pension pot and buy the best annuity (income) they can on the open market. However, many companies did not offer that service or played down the opportunity to enable them to hold onto the pension investments and give sub-standard annuity rates.


So who is the most at risk?

at risk from pension scam

Within that group, there are also customers who through ill health could have been entitled to a substantially enhanced pension. If you have health conditions these should be taken into account when the annuity is purchased and enhanced terms can be given especially if you go to specialist provider.

These are often some of the most vulnerable people in our society and for them to have been poorly advised or misled is a major scandal and a further blot on the Financial Services industry reputation.

These are not issues to be embarrassed about and if you are concerned about any of the above you should speak to an expert.

In November 2015, the Pensions Regulator awarded a pensioner nearly £10,000 when they gave poor advice on the annuity rate the customer could get. This is the decision that will often determine the lifestyle a person will have until the end of their lives, and it is vital that the advice given is accurate and in the best interests of the customer.

The pension miss selling scandal may well be the worse ever faced by the financial services industry partly because of the consequences to individuals of getting this wrong.

That’s why Reader’s Digest have teamed up with My Champion to ensure our readers get peace of mind and, if appropriate, the compensation they deserve.

A small difference in the annuity rate can have a dramatic difference on future lifestyle and prosperity and My Champion work tirelessly to get people redress where there has been a fault.


If you are unsure if you have been affected call us on 0800 3800 090 or click here and if you have been affected we would like to hear your story too.