XPS publishes checklist for TPR scams pledge

XPS Pensions Group has published a checklist to aid trustees in assessing what actions need to be taken for their schemes to meet the commitments of The Pensions Regulator’s (TPR) scams pledge.

TPR’s industry-wide initiative to combat scams was launched on 10 November and calls upon trustees, providers and administrators to help in the fight against fraud by making six commitments, including following the principles of the Pensions Scams Industry Group’s Code of Good Practice.

The new checklist from XPS, which committed to the pledge on 12 November, features a point-by-point guide on how to adhere to each commitment outlined by the pledge.

For example, when examining whether trustees regularly communicate the risks of scams to members, the checklist asks whether ScamSmart website links or leaflets are included with annual benefit statements and scheme transfer packs, as well as whether general information about scams is included in regular communications with members.

XPS head of member engagement group, Colin Miller, commented: "Pension scams have been a growing concern for some time, particularly at the moment as the wider economic and social consequences of Covid-19 make individuals more vulnerable.

"Since 2015 we have been tracking signs of potential scam activity through our Scam Protection Service. In that time we have developed robust processes and technology that has protected over 1,200 ‘red flag’ cases representing over £240m of transfer values."

Indeed, the XPS Red Flag Index showed a continued “high proportion” of red flags on transfers in October, with 60 per cent of transfers showing signs of a possible scam, following the record high of 62 per cent recorded in September.

Furthermore, in September, XPS reported that more than half (51 per cent) of pension transfers covered by its scam protection service since lockdown, representing £25m in savings, had been flagged as at risk of a scam.

Miller added: "Our experience has enabled us to confidently sign up to the pledge and we are now currently working through the requirements to determine what it means for an adviser and administrator to self-certify.

“In doing so we can now share our experience and have developed an interactive scam protection checklist for trustees to complete in each of the key areas outlined by TPR that best protects members.

"Our complimentary checklist can help trustees work through the pledge requirements on a scheme-specific basis and identify actions and processes they need to put in place to protect their own members and self-certify that they meet the pledge for their own scheme.”

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