Obviously we want you to do business with us - but even if you don't use us then - FOR YOUR OWN SAFETY - PLEASE make sure you use a company that is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).
“If somebody is offering people under the age of 55 the opportunity of unlocking their pension it is almost certainly a scam” so said
Tracey McDermott, Director of Enforcement and Financial Crime at the FCA on 1 July 2013.
Currently there are many non-regulated companies operating in the pension lump sum area. Many of them are run by criminal organisations, their aim is to get their hands on your money, typically leaving you with no money and, because they are unregulated, no protection. There is more useful information and links below.
The most obvious targets are those people aged under 55 who under current pension rules cannot yet release their pension fund. No matter what you are told, the vast majority of people aged under 55 cannot legally access their pension.
Any scheme that you are put in, will not be recognised by Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HMRC) and the best outcome that you can hope for is that you will only lose a large part of your pension fund, rather than all of it. Nevertheless you are likely to face hefty tax charges.
How can I check that I am dealing with an FCA Regulated business ?
Any properly regulated company is going to be only too happy to prove it is regulated. Our website has our regulated statements at the top and bottom of this website. We also include our FCA number (227014) and we also include a link to the FCA website where you can look us up on the FCA register. All regulated companies must include this information on their website. If the company you are dealing with doesn't have this information then they are not regulated - no matter what they tell you.
It is easy to check out any regulated business. Simply find their proper name (ours is Platinum Financial Consulting) and their FS number (ours is 227014). All regulated companies will have this information available. Simply do a search on the FCA register using the FS number and the FCA will give you details of the company.
What are the risks in dealing with a non regulated business ?
There are many -perhaps the most important being that you could be dealing with a criminal gang who will have access to your personal data. They could use this information at a later stage to commit further identity and financial crime against you.
If you do take money out of a pension in contravention of the UK pension rules the HRMC will classify this as an 'unauthorised payment'. This means they can charge you tax of 40% on any amounts you receive.
Most importantly if you do use an unauthorised and unregulated company then when things go wrong, you are on your own. You have no rights to compensation either from the regulator or the courts.
When you use a regulated company they are obliged by the FCA, who are empowered by the Financial Services Act (2012), to investigate any complaints you have. If they have done something wrong and you have suffered financial loss, they may have to make good that loss. If they don't, you may be able to take your complaint to the Financial Ombudsman who will consider they complaint.
Besides all this the FCA can visit the firm, and audit the work it does. Again it could require the firm to compensate customers.
Finally, in the unlikely scenario of your regulated pension provider being unable to meet its financial obligations you would have access to the Financial Services Compensation Scheme.
Why aren't these companies being closed down ?
While lots of work is being done to close these companies down, many are based offshore and work via websites. It is easy for them to close one site down and open another.
Equally it is more a case for the police than the regulator. There has been some success with closing down so called pension liberation companies.
If you aren't yet convinced then the following links may help :
The Pensions Regulator - Pensions Liberation Fraud
Arrests made in 'pension liberation' crackdown
Pension Pot Raiders Target the Needy
As we said at the start, we would like you to do business with us, but more importantly we want you to only do business with FCA authorised and regulated businesses.