The Work and Pensions Committee has launched an inquiry into the impact of pension freedoms and level of protection for pension savers.

The three-stage “broad inquiry” will investigate how savers are protected as they move from saving for retirement to using their pension savings under freedom rules.

The inquiry will first focus on pension scams before moving on to accessing pension savings and saving for later life, with a call for evidence expected to be published next year.

Pension freedoms were introduced in 2015 with the aim of giving people aged over 55 more control over how and when they can access their savings.

But due to this level of flexibility scams have boomed, leading the former chief executive of the Financial Conduct Authority to admit earlier this year the regulator has been playing catch up since the reforms.

The coronavirus pandemic and ongoing financial hardship as a result of lockdown had provided an extra opportunity for fraudsters to target vulnerable savers and those looking to their pensions to provide additional financial support.

To inform its inquiry, the committee has urged people across the industry to provide their views on the following questions:

  • What is the prevalence of pension scams?
  • What are the current trends in pension scams?
  • What are the common outcomes of pension scams for perpetrators and victims?
  • How are existing enforcement tools being used?
  • What more can be done to prevent pension scammers operating?
  • What more can be done to prevent individuals becoming victims of pension scams?
  • What role should the pensions industry have in preventing scams?
  • Is HMRC’s position on the tax treatment of pension scam victims correct?
  • Are public bodies co-ordinating the response to pension scams?