Adverts target 'misery' of unlocked pensions

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The Independent Online

Regulators are to unveil measures this week to help combat the menace of pension unlocking.

The industry, which has grown from £25m in 2010 to £200m today, often gives consumers a very poor deal when offering to take their pension fund in return for a relatively small cash payment or even a high interest loan.

The Pensions Regulator has long been concerned about the potential for consumers to lose money when undertaking pension unlocking. It has stated it's impossible to prevent firms marketing these services but hopes an advertising campaign will alert people to the dangers.

In addition, the regulator is looking to share information more readily with pension providers to help prevent pension holders from transferring funds to unlocking companies or to alert the tax authorities to a potential breach of their rules.

"In light of the rapid escalation in pension unlocking, it is good the regulator and government agencies are looking at new ways to alert and protect investors.

"These products pose a real risk to consumers, and heap misery on people who are already in a difficult financial position," said Tom McPhail, the head of pensions research, at financial advice firm Hargreaves Lansdown.

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