High Court judgment a setback for schemes trying to protect members from fraud

Commenting on the High Court judgment on the Hughes vs Royal London case in which the Court overturned the Pensions Ombudsman’s backing of Royal London’s decision to block a suspected pensions liberation transfer, Ian Bell, Head of Pensions at RSM said:

‘We recently published research which found that the proportion of schemes reporting experience of fraud had doubled in two years, rising from 17 per cent in 2013 to 37 per cent in 2015. Over half of respondents said they had identified requests for member transactions they suspected of being scams. 

‘Against this backdrop, trustees, assisted by the Pensions Regulator, have been making real progress in terms of trying to identify suspect schemes and stop people losing their lifesavings to scammers. 

‘However, this judgment is a real setback for schemes which are trying to do the right thing. The inflexibility of the law will mean that this will now be much harder, and there is a danger that this will open the floodgate for fraudsters hell-bent on exploiting flaws in the system for their own ends.’ 

RSM’s Pensions Fraud Risk report is available here.