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Remember, remember the fifth of November

Remember, remember the fifth of November,
Gunpowder, treason and plot,
I see no reason why gunpowder treason
Should ever be forgot

A familiar nursery rhyme that you probably remember. The rhyme goes on to name Guy Fawkes as the organise of the plot to blow up the King and the Parliament.

Whilst Guy Fawkes was found with the gunpowder, it was Robert Catesby who organised and lead the gunpowder plot. He was killed fighting with the guards that came to arrest him; perhaps a rather more gallant end than Guy Fawkes who was hung, drawn and quartered. The mystery is who sent the letter to Lord Monteagle, warning of a ‘terrible blow’ to come during the state opening, that led to the secrets of the plot being discovered. Some believe Lord Monteagle wrote it himself to clear his name of any potential involvement as he was a known Catholic sympathiser.

The interesting point about this story is when things are not as they first appear. There are some really good examples of this in our pension world.

  • A pension scheme or provider says that you cannot draw money directly from your fund but you can only buy an annuity. This may be because you have an old vintage style contract and need to move it to a new one or it may be that the scheme/provider does not offer that option.
  • We all have to be careful about how we communicate messages to customers. Information in the hands of someone who is uninformed can be dangerous. Take this example from our enquiries:
    “I was employed from 1983 to 1998 and have a Final Salary Pension. I am now a "Deferred Member". I have received the Transfer Out forms and been given a Guaranteed Transfer Value. Therefore, effectively it is not a final salary pension. Can I consider it a normal pension from now on and cash it in?”
  • The offer of a free pension review as part of a Government initiative is neither “free” nor a government service. Here is an example of an enquiry from one of our customers.
    "I have just had a phone call from a woman claiming to work for the Pensions Advisory Service. She said if I was over 52 I could claim a £1000 bonus on my pension but I had to claim in the next 6 weeks. She asked for my phone number and said one of their advisors would call me back to discuss details. I was suspicious so I rang DWP and they said that Pensions Advisory Service would not cold call me about my pension. Just after that I got a call from a man claiming to be a pensions advisor working for the Pensions Advisory Service, asking me if I had a frozen pension, how old was I and what was my phone number.  I told him it was a scam and I was not interested. Have you any idea what this £1000 pension bonus is?

However tempting these calls are (and in fact the more tempting that they are), just hang up. We never cold call you and there is no bonus. You can find more about pension scams here

If you are curious about the authenticity of Lord Monteagle and his motives, you should know that his oldest daughter became a nun and he received the last rites in a Roman Catholic Church. Some things are not as they seem.

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