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The offshore pension industry can often seem like it is filled with scammers or hucksters trying to separate expats from their hard earned cash using any nefarious means necessary. Now the Serious Fraud Office has weighed in with warnings about the burgeoning QROPS sector.
In a recent speech to the Pensions Management Institute autumn conference in London, Jane de Lozey, Senior SFO Lawyer, sought to highlight the risks involved in transferring pensions into QROP schemes run by illegitimate providers.
Ms de Lozey said, “Disruption is one of our key objectives as there is so much fraud out there. One key area for controls is at the point of transfer. There is a need to have checks that (the receiving scheme) is an occupational scheme, but people are very good at setting up what looks like a bona fide occupational scheme. We would really like the providers to act as gatekeepers.
“The investments are highly speculative at best and fraudulent at worst. Many of these criminals have worked in the industry and know the terminology and reassurances investors look for.”
These developments mean that it is more important than ever for expats to ensure that they speak to a quality assured IFA before embarking on any offshore pension transfer.