The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has committed to tackling the number of unauthorised pension introducers.
In its annual report, published yesterday, the watchdog said it would monitor how unauthorised introducer firms are taking advantage of new pension freedoms.
Introducer firms act as intermediaries between savers and independent financial advisers (IFAs). However, some firms initiate contact with savers through cold-calling, provide unregulated advice, and then pass details on to IFAs at a cost.
The FCA said it had received 8,438 reports of potentially unauthorised financial services activity in 2015/16, including concerns related to pension fraud. The figure also includes insurance and investment fraud, unauthorised investment business, deposit taking, and ‘boiler room' schemes.
In the report, it said: "As a result of the changes to accessing pensions, we are monitoring the market and the impact of those changes on behaviours, particularly relating to unauthorised pension introducers."
It follows the Pensions Ombudsman (PO) service revealing suspicious liberation cases were the most common investigation it took on over the last year. Around 200 of the 1,363 cases it investigated last year related to liberation complaints.
The FCA added over 94,000 people had visited its ScamSmart website, which provides information on how savers can spot potential scams, over the last year. It particularly highlights the danger of an increasing number of ‘free pension review' offers.
The commitment comes as a BBC Panorama investigation showed how pensioners are being duped into following potentially malicious and unregulated ‘free pension reviews' given by untrained call centre staff.
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