Pensions sector loses billions per year to fraud

09 Mar 2020

The UK pensions sector is losing almost £6 billion a year to fraud and scams, according to research from the University of Portsmouth's Centre for Counter Fraud Studies.

The private pension sector is worst hit, with losses estimated at £4.9 billion per annum. The largest cause of loss is investment fraud, at £2.88 billion each year, with payment fraud costing £1.68 billion. An additional £330 million is lost to payroll and purchasing fraud. 

Government and public sector pensions are estimated to lose £1.1 billion per year.

The research identified the chief risks to the pensions sector as internal fraud, identity fraud and cybercrime. The pensions sector is particularly vulnerable to cybercrime, with the research showing that 25% of schemes surveyed did not have plans in place to respond to cyber threats.

The pensions sector remains at critical risk to fraud, given the scale, sum and diversity of investments pension schemes are responsible for, according to the research. The situation is made worse because counter fraud and cybercrime processes are 'not yet fully adapted to the rapidly evolving threats', it added.

Pensioners and prospective pension beneficiaries – who tend to have low levels of engagement with their retirement savings and finances – are also regarded by fraudsters as easy targets.

Register for our newsletter

Once a month we'll send you an email packed full of essential business news and handy tax tips to help save you money.



34 Boulevard
BS23 1NF

01934 415022


Bath Street
BS27 3AA

01934 743274

Home | Contact us | Accessibility | Disclaimer & Privacy Policy | Help | Site map |

© 2020 Four Fifty Partnership. All rights reserved.

We use cookies on this website, you can find more information about cookies here.

Registered to carry on audit work in the UK by the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales. Details about our audit registration can be found at under the reference C001092613.

"four fifty partnership" is a trading name of Four Fifty Partnership Limited. Registered in England. Company Number 5032008. Registered Office 34 Boulevard, Weston super Mare, Somerset BS23 1NF.

Directors: Richard Acreman BSc CTA, Joy Boswell FCCA FCA, Peter Ison BA FCA and Nick Gravell FCCA FCA.

Professional Indemnity Insurers: Nexus Underwriting Limited 52-56 Leadenhall Street, London EC3A 2EB (Policy Number: BC6210PIA194). The territorial coverage is worldwide excluding professional business carried out from an office in the United States of America or Canada and excludes any action for a claim brought in any court in the United States of America or Canada.