The Transparency Task Force (TTF) has published an open letter to prime minister Boris Johnson asking him to take a personal interest in pension scam problems and push for legislative flexibilities for scam victims.
This comes after TTF founder Andy Agathangelou and two pension scam victims met with the prime minister on Friday (25 September) to discuss the UK's burgeoning pension scam problem.
The open letter stated: "The harsh reality is that the pension scams problem is a festering sore on the face of the pensions sector.
"Much more needs to be done, and can be done, to get the problem under control."
Agathangelou called for increased leadership from the Prime Minister, noting the contributions of MP Bob Blackman in his position as chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Pension Scams, MP and chair of the Work and Pensions Committee (WPC) Stephen Timms following the WPC's new inquiry on pension scams, MP and secretary of state for work and pensions Thérèse Coffey, and pensions and financial inclusion minister Guy Opperman.
"Leadership of that kind could be shown by your colleague Rishi Sunak, who, as chancellor, will hopefully support the proposal drafted by Margaret Snowden - member of the TTF advisory group and chair of the Pension Scams Industry Group (PSIG) - for a tax amnesty for pension scam victims able to show they are a victim of crime," he said.
"The proposal for an amendment to the Finance Act 2004 has been shared with HM Treasury and HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC), along with others. The proposal would enable HMRC to treat pension scam victims more fairly."
Agathangelou added that personal support from the Prime Minister was also key, calling on him in the open letter not to "make the mistake others have made" in underestimating the scale of the problem, the creativity of pension scam criminals, and the need for an "intelligent team effort" to address it.
He concluded: "Perhaps now more than ever, the world is looking to the UK as a beacon of fairness, justice and integrity; as a global leader in financial services, the UK has a real opportunity to show that it takes all kinds of financial crime seriously."
This comes after a TTF symposium earlier this month which questioned whether the Financial Conduct Authority, the Bank of England, and the Prudential Regulation Authority were looking to "minimise complaints and compensation for their failings" rather than thoroughly investigating scam and misconduct complaints relating to financial advice, pensions, and investments.
Public records complied by PSIG and TTF show 40,000 people were victims of pension fraud in the UK in 2019, losing an average of £82,000 each.
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