Zurich and The Pensions Advisory Service (TPAS) are to pilot a pension scam helpline offering consumers guidance on pension transfers flagged up as 'suspicious'.
Manned by TPAS staff, the helpline will focus on schemes deemed suspicious by Zurich, with the aim of helping people understand the provider's concerns about their transfer request.
Zurich said it hoped this would encourage people to think twice before handing over their savings, putting another hurdle in the way of scammers. If successful, Zurich wants to see the helpline rolled out across the industry.
Under current legislation providers have little power to block transfers when they have concerns the money is heading into a scam.
To be able to refuse a transfer, trustees and managers must be able to show it falls outside of the existing legislation and that there is no statutory right to transfer.
The issue was highlighted in a court case earlier this year in which Royal London was deemed by the High Court to have unjustly prevented a client's pension transfer .
'New line of defence'
Zurich UK Life chief operations officer Jim Sykes said: "We are delighted to be working with The Pensions Advisory Service to pilot this new line of defence against pension scams.
"We will encourage customers to contact the free helpline when we have clear concerns over the legitimacy of a receiving scheme. The helpline will provide an additional safety net for our customers and help to reinforce the warnings we already give to savers about potential scams."
TPAS chief executive Michelle Cracknell added: "We frequently have pension savers contact our service concerned about why their pension provider or scheme is delaying or refusing to transfer their money. However, we know there are other pension savers who are not contacting us and insisting to the provider or scheme that their money is transferred.
"We hope this pilot can highlight that an independent voice explaining why the provider is delaying making the transfer can help people understand why the provider is carrying out the due diligence."
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