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Men almost twice as likely to trigger pension transfer “red flags” as women

New research from XPS Pensions Group has revealed that men are almost twice as likely to trigger pension transfer “red flags” as women.

XPS Pensions’ research found that 11% of pension transfers by men in 2021 showed warning signs of being a scam, compared to 6% of transfers by women.

The findings were published just months after legislation from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) came into force in November 2021, giving pension providers the power to block any transfers that demonstrate any regulatory “red flags.”

The legislation covers several “red flags,” including:

  • Pension savers receiving advice from advisers without the correct regulatory permissions
  • Pension savers requesting a transfer after receiving an unsolicited communication about their pension
  • Pension savers being pressured into a transfer

On top of the gender split, XPS also found that higher value pensions, perhaps unsurprisingly, were more likely to be targeted by scammers. During 2021, the average value of a pension transfer stood at £211,000. However, for transfers where regulatory “red flags” were present, this rose by more than 25%, to £279,000.

Speaking about the findings, Helen Cavanaugh, XPS Pensions Group’s client lead for member engagement, said: “A lot of the red flags which we see plaguing transfers are relayed to advisors who do not have the correct permissions to provide such advice.

“It’s crucial that members receive quality advice from a properly authorised, experienced advisor if they are to get the best outcomes, and schemes have an important role to play in not only providing access to that advice, but also blocking or pausing transfers that they suspect may be fraudulent.”

Mark Barlow, an XPS Pensions Group partner, added: “It’s important that pension schemes do everything in their power to ensure that their members are protected from losing their life savings to scams, particularly in light of the new legislation from government, which requires them to do so.”

If you’ve been the victim of a mis-sold pension transfer, we can help. Contact us here for a free, no-obligation review of your transfer and take the first steps to getting at least some of your money back.


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