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Pension Freedom or Cold-Calling Nightmare
by Richard Samuels, Independent Financial Adviser, Blacktower Financial Management

Ever since the UK chancellor announced he was going to allow pension freedom on UK private pensions from April 2015, the papers have had articles galore on what you can spend your money on. Some papers started to focus on the fact that there was a nasty ‘sting in the tail’ for many people who cash in their pension and that was TAX! Since then the biggest problem is the number of scammers and fraudsters that are after your money.

Recently, the UK Pension’s Minister, Guy Opperman, announced that in the UK alone, 10.9 million people have been ‘cold-called’ about their pensions; that is 1 in 6 people. The figures for cold-calling of expats living abroad with UK pensions is even higher.

Pension Freedom provides opportunities, but it also increases the danger of being hoodwinked by fraudsters eager to get their hands on your lifetime savings.

Don’t let yourself become a victim:

If you are cold-called, hang up immediately.

Don’t get drawn into a conversation.  The people calling you are professional cold-callers who know how to entice you into their schemes.

The FCA highlights the following signs that should put people on the alert:

  • People offering high risk investments or scams will often cold-call, but regulated firms are very unlikely to do this, so the safest thing to do is hang up.
  • Fraudsters might make contact unexpectedly about an investment opportunity, but pretend they aren’t cold-calling you by referring to a brochure or an email that they have sent you. They might make a cold-call, email, or follow-up call after you receive a promotional brochure out of the blue.
  • Another warning signal is if someone applies pressure to invest in a time-limited offer; for example by offering a bonus or discount if you invest before a set date, or by saying that the opportunity is only available for a short period.
  • A dodgy firm might downplay the risks to your money; for example by talking about how you will own actual assets that you may sell yourself if the investment doesn’t work as expected, or by using legal jargon to suggest the investment is very safe.
  • Beware of promises of tempting returns that sound too good to be true; for example by offering much better interest rates than those offered elsewhere or investments with no risk or low or sometimes no charges.
  • Fraudsters might call you repeatedly and stay on the phone a long time. They could say that they are only making the offer available to you, or even ask you to not tell anyone else about the opportunity.

The FCA’s other tips are to check its warning list of companies running scams or operating without authorisation and to get impartial help from a financial adviser unconnected to the firm that contacted you.  It is also important to note that this advice is not just limited to pensions. The fraudsters can also target you when it comes to regular savings and investments.

The bottom line is:

When it comes to financial affairs, do your research.  Don’t be rushed into anything and always make sure you are dealing with a reputable company.

If you need advice or have any questions please contact me by email at richard.samuels@blacktowerfm.com or call me on 692 352 156

Blacktower Financial Management has been established for over 32 years and have worked with clients through the good and the bad times, offering sound independent advice, we will be by your side both now and in the future.

For further information contact:
Richard Samuels, International Financial Adviser,
Blacktower Financial Management (International) Ltd
M: 692 352 156 or E: richard.samuels@blacktowerfm.com

The above information was correct at the time of preparation and does not constitute investment advice and you should seek advice from a professional adviser before embarking on any financial planning activity.

Blacktower Financial Management Ltd is authorised and regulated in the UK by the Financial Conduct Authority and is registered with both the DGS and CNMV.

Blacktower Financial Management (Int) Ltd is licensed in Gibraltar by the Financial Services Commission (FSC) and is registered with both the DGS and CNMV in Spain.