It was my mistake and I had to live with it.
But after a while I did mention it, to a family friend, they said: “Carol, you’re mad. This isn’t your fault. Loads of people have been scammed on pensions.” The moment she told me that, a weight felt like it lifted from my shoulders, just to know others are in the same boat as me.
She then told me that there might be a way I could get my pension funds back. I was sort of hopeful, but slightly dubious at the same time as you can lose your faith with financial investments and pensions once you’ve had a bad experience.
That bad experience began when someone cold-called me asking about Life Insurance but went into overdrive when they realised I had a personal pension. Who knows if the Life Insurance call was just a tactic to find out about my pension?
I’d told the person on the other end of the phone that I had a pension with Britannic Assurance, I’d paid into for years. They got back to me ten minutes later and said they had reviewed the pension and it was doing nothing. They explained how I would be a lot better off cashing it in and they were going to send someone to meet me to show me how I could make my pension perform better with a different investment.
Long story short, the adviser arranged for my Britannic Assurance pension to be reinvested into a scheme which was linked to a number of children’s homes. Everything seemed plausible, from the return forecasts to the man in front of me. I like the sound of investing in children’s homes too as I’d worked as a care assistant for many years.
Not long after investing in the new scheme, I started to regret my decision.
At first you think ‘they’ll bounce back’ but alarm bells start ringing when the majority of your pension fund is gone. I contacted the pension provider but was always fobbed off, put on hold for extended periods, put through to different departments, the phone would be put down without reason. When the entire pension fund collapsed, leaving me with nothing, I just wrote it off in my mind. I’d lost a hell of a lot of money, but I didn’t think I could do anything other than work extra hard in the remaining years before retirement and hope I could regain the money that way.
But after speaking with the family friend who suggested I take action, I started to build up some confidence.
They knew I was embarrassed but they help put things into perspective. Once the claim started to be processed, it was quite straightforward. If I got a letter through the post, someone from the PCC team would respond to me quickly, they explained everything clearly. I thought the fees were more than reasonable too, especially given the prices you can be charged elsewhere.
I let PCC handle the claim, there was no fuss and I got my money back – that’s why I recommend their services very highly to anyone who has been mis-sold a pension.
Since I found out about the whole area of pension scams I’ve chatted it through with friends and ex-colleagues. One of them, the other day said: “Carol, the same company called me and said exactly the same thing starting with Life Insurance and moving onto pensions, I lost £66,000!”
Carol was persuaded to invest Premier Children Services Ltd (PCSL) through a Berkeley Burke SIPP. The adviser was Kynaston Carnoustie Financial Consultancy Limited.
Did you know that women are less likely to have made a complaint about their mis-sold pension transfer than men?
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