The recession is putting many pension schemes at risk of fraud, dishonest conduct or dodgy behaviour by employers, according to a recent statement from the Pensions Regulator.

The Pensions Regulator is now asking that trustees of schemes, advisors and members keep vigilant and report any untoward activities.

The Pensions Regulator knows that the vast majority of schemes are well run and have dedicated managers looking after them, so they are sure that any inappropriate behaviour will be caught.

The economic downturn has been sighted as the reason behind much of the fraudulent conduct, because it has accentuated the vulnerability of some schemes. The Pensions Regulator has asked that those involved in schemes remain alert to any potential action that could jeopardise member’s benefits.

Members are being warned to look for ‘inappropriate transfers of funds’ and not to be afraid of pointing the finger.

There has been a marginal increase in the number of ‘whistle blowing cases’ and again the recession has been fingered with the blame. In light of this, the Pensions Regulator warned employers that they should not see the recession as an excuse to cut pension contributions, especially if they were still paying shareholders dividends.

The Pensions Regulator went on to say that although instances of fraud are rare, they are nonetheless a real risk and so the members have been asked to use their ‘whistle blowing’ powers and be aware of employers abusing pension schemes.