The auto-enrolment solution for Northern Ireland

Information and Resources for your employees

Posted in General News and Newsletters

A major event like Coronavirus has caused financial uncertainty for both employers and employees.  Many people are worried about their own and their loved ones’ physical health at the moment, but it is important to think about how Coronavirus could impact their financial wellbeing too.

We have contacted all members of the Scheme recently by email to provide updates on how the Coronavirus could affect their pension, where to get advice and how to protect themselves from scams.

You may wish to use this information to assist your staff with questions they may raise with you or could use it in your next staff newsletter.

How will Coronavirus affect my pension?
As a pension investor, it can be worrying to see your pension fall in value. That said, it is important to remember that your pension is a long-term investment. Looking at the historical performance of share markets experience shows that eventually markets do recover. Neither the Workers Pension Trust nor the Trustees are suggesting you take any direct action – they are neither qualified nor authorised to provide financial advice.

It is strongly recommended if you are thinking about amending your investment choices that you consider seeking independent financial advice.

  • When reviewing your investment choices, it is suggested that you should consider the length of time your pension savings are likely to be invested. Where appropriate, look to have a long-term outlook with regards to your pension saving investments.
  • For members approaching retirement or planning to access their benefits, the Scheme offers options that are designed to manage the level of risk taken depending on how close you are to retirement. Most members automatically benefit from this as part of Workers Pension Trust’s default Lifestyle Strategy. More information can be found here.
  • Workers Pension Trust offers a range of different types of investments, some of which are considered lower-risk and can offer an alternative to share market investing. More information can be found here.
  • The Trustees monitor the performance of members' investments regularly. The Trustees also review the investment strategy with a qualified investment consultant taking a long-term investment view.

Where can I get financial advice or guidance?
If you need help, the Money and Pensions Service brings together three respected financial guidance bodies: the Money Advice Service, The Pensions Advisory Service and Pension Wise.

Financial Advisers
It’s important you make the best decision for your own personal circumstances, so you should consider using the services of a financial adviser.  If you do opt for an adviser, be sure to use one that is regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and never take investment advice from a company that contacted you unsolicited, or an adviser they suggest, as this may be part of the scam.

Check they are not a clone – a common scam is to pretend to be a genuine FCA-authorised firm (called a ‘clone firm’). Always use the contact details on the FCA Register, not the details the firm gives you.

Check the Financial Services Register to make sure that anyone offering you advice or other financial services is FCA authorised, and they are permitted to provide those services regarding pensions. If you need any help checking, call the FCA Consumer Helpline on 0800 111 6768.

How can I protect myself from Coronavirus (Covid-19) scams?
Pension scams are on the increase in the UK. Every day, fraudsters are using sophisticated ways to part savers from their money and a lifetime’s savings can be lost in moments.

Watch out for scams related to coronavirus (Covid-19). These scams take many forms and could be about insurance policies, pensions transfers, or high-return investment opportunities. Scammers are sophisticated, opportunistic and will try many things. They are also very likely to target the vulnerable. Beware of investments that appear to be too good be true.

Read how to avoid coronavirus scams to find out more about potential scams, how they could affect you and how to protect yourself.

Scammers might try to persuade you to cash in your pension – either the whole lot or a large sum – and hand the money to them to invest.

Watch out particularly for people contacting you out of the blue or adverts claiming to offer free pension reviews or no-obligation consultations.

To help protect yourself you should:

  • Reject offers that come out of the blue
  • Get the company’s name and establish their credentials using the FCA’s Financial Services Register
  • Beware of adverts on social media channels and paid for/sponsored adverts online
  • Do not click links or open emails from senders you don’t already know
  • Be wary of promised returns that sound too good to be true
  • Take your time to make all the checks you need, even if this means turning down an ‘amazing deal’
  • Do not give out personal details (bank details, address, existing insurance/pensions/investment details)
  • Seek financial guidance or advice before changing your pension arrangements or making investments

There is further advice on the FCA’s ScamSmart website about how to protect yourself and if you suspect you may have been contacted in what could be a scam.

Other useful Links

Coronavirus guidance

Financial Wellbeing

Mental Wellbeing