Many of us might be worried about the damage that recent market volatility has done to our pension pots and feel that we need to do something to curtail the damage. That’s understandable but be careful of rushing into any quick decisions about your pension in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, which could wreak even more havoc with our savings.

The coronavirus outbreak has impacted on all kinds of companies, including those listed on the stock market. As a result, markets have been volatile and are likely to remain so for a while. This can have an impact on pensions, leading to additional worry for savers. It can also lead to an increase in scams, as unscrupulous people try to take advantage of investors concerned about the value of their savings.

The Pensions Regulator (TPR) and The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), supported by The Money and Pensions Service (MaPS), say fears over the impact of the pandemic on markets and personal finances may make many of us more vulnerable to scams or making a decision that could damage our long-term interests.

They are urging savers to take their time and visit the Pensions Advisory Service website for free plain-English pensions guidance before making any decisions about their retirement savings. And to go to the ScamSmart website to learn how to protect themselves from pensions scams. This includes people already retired who are thinking again about their options.

Support available

The Pensions Regulator (TPR) The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), supported by The Money and Pensions Service (MaPS), urge savers worried about their retirement savings to do four things:

  1. Visit the Pensions Advisory Service website for guidance on how COVID-19 may have impacted your pensions.
  2. If you are aged 50 or over and considering drawing your pension, you can book a Pension Wise guidance session to fully understand your options.
  3. Use a financial adviser to help you make the best decision for your own personal circumstances. Make sure the firm you are dealing with is FCA-authorised, and they are permitted to provide pension advice. You can check the firm you are dealing with is authorised by visiting the FCA Register.
  4. Learn how to protect yourself from pensions scams by visiting the ScamSmart website.

Reputable pension companies should make it easy for you to establish that they are genuine and will operate strong anti-fraud policies. For example, Fidelity will never ask for your full PIN or online password and does not do cold calling.

Important information: Investors should note that the views expressed may no longer be current and may have already been acted upon. This information is not a personal recommendation for any particular investment. If you are unsure about the suitability of an investment you should speak to an authorised financial adviser.

The value of investments can go down as well as up, so you may not get back the amount you originally invest. Tax treatment depends on individual circumstances and all tax rules may change in the future. You cannot normally access money in your pension until age 55