The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) with other pensions bodies have published an easy-to-read guide. It explains measures taken to support savers, answers many frequently asked questions, and provides details on the free and impartial guidance that is available. It is a comprehensive tool for anyone wanting to understand how their pension savings are protected and supported at this moment in time and provides information on how to protect yourself against pension scams.
The guide is available here.
Coronavirus (COVID-19) – financial impacts and sources of financial support
The impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic on investment markets around the world is naturally a concern for investors as it has led to an increase in volatility and sudden market falls. Many people are inevitably concerned about the value of their investments and the financial uncertainty which this brings, and are looking for further information and support.
Some of our customers have contacted us to see whether the value of their investment has been affected or to discuss if there are any options for safeguarding their financial position. Some have been considering taking money from their policy due to the current performance of the markets or switching their funds to another investment fund which is less volatile.
It’s vital to make fully informed decisions; therefore before making any changes to your policy, we’re asking all of our customers to ensure they consider these three important things:
Sources of financial support
If you’re thinking of accessing your pension savings, making a withdrawal, or wish to surrender your investment policy because of financial difficulties, please ensure you fully consider the implications before doing so. We have provided some useful information below where you can find a range of impartial support networks that can help you. We strongly recommend you investigate the support networks available before making any decisions in relation to ceasing or taking withdrawals from your policy.
Please visit the
Money Advice Service website which provides extremely useful information that can help you. There is also a useful tool that can be found
here which enables you to see the places where you can gain further debt based help, guidance and advice if you need it.
We realise these are worrying times for many of our customers and that some people may find themselves in an economically vulnerable position which prompts unexpected expenses or a reduced level of income. We will continue to support our customers and provide you with additional information to help at this difficult time.
Our response to Covid-19 from Andy Briggs, Chief Executive
In these truly extraordinary times, Phoenix Group is taking significant steps to support and protect its colleagues, customers and the communities where we operate. Led by our senior leadership team, we are using our established business continuity framework to manage our response.
For our customers, we have done our utmost to continue to deliver our services during these strained times. With our customer service teams now working from home and continuing to answer enquiries, close to normal levels of service have been maintained and we continue to see a very positive customer response, with the vast majority of our customers rating our service ‘good’ or ‘excellent’.
Inevitably a number of our customers are in the high-risk category through age or illness. We continue to provide a phone service, and to ensure our lines remain available to our most vulnerable customers, we are encouraging those who can to use our website wherever possible.
To help support customers working for the NHS, we are establishing a priority service if they need to contact us, through dedicated secure messaging and an out-of-hours call-back service.
Importantly, both online and through our direct customer communications, we are raising awareness of the increased threat our customers may face from scams in the uncertain times the pandemic creates.
At the forefront of our minds is the wellbeing and safety of all of our colleagues. We acted quickly to mobilise our colleagues and enable them to work from home. We have supplied around 4,500 individual pieces of IT kit (such as keyboards and cables) to make this possible. With the exception of employees carrying out critical processes at our sites (c.1% that are all socially distanced), all of our c.4,400 employees are set up to work from home other than a small number that cannot fulfil their role from home. None of our people have been furloughed as a result of Covid-19. This has been the biggest logistics exercise we have ever undertaken.
In this challenging time we recognised that our colleagues may need to take time off to care for loved ones. We have provided paid emergency leave for those caring for people during the Covid-19 crisis.
We are extremely thankful to our colleagues and partners for the dedication and spirit they have shown throughout this time.
We, like many, are in awe of the excellent work undertaken by key workers and front-line staff, who are serving our communities. As a small measure of our gratitude we are donating £1 million to be split between, Age UK and charities supporting the communities local to our offices across the UK and Europe. These charities, especially some of the smaller ones, are dealing with unprecedented demand for their services when finances may be stretched, and we are delighted to support them.
Recognising the critical role the Air Ambulances play in the NHS, we have also extended our support for our four existing Air Ambulance Charity partners across the UK.
We will also continue to provide support through investment in socially responsible community assets. In 2020 to date we have provided £70m in lending to Local Authorities, £75m to Housing Associations, and £30m to a renewable energy project. We are actively looking for opportunities to support similar projects.
As we all look towards a time when we can return to normality, I am heartened by the depth of community and determination my colleagues have shown in this trying time. The small gestures and extra hours have really revealed how we are prepared to go above and beyond in order to maintain the services so relied upon. It demonstrates our steadfast approach to delivering for our customers when they need it the most.
CEO Phoenix Group
As at 17 April 2020
Scams related to the Coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic have escalated in recent weeks with criminals trying a variety of different tactics through texts, email and phone calls to defraud members of the public by exploiting fears and anxieties as people self-isolate.
The UK's national reporting centre for fraud and cybercrime, Action Fraud has received thousands of reports about Coronavirus (Covid-19) themed scams including cold calls and phishing emails. Criminals are preying on people isolated from their family and friends to
trick them into revealing sensitive personal and financial information. One of the recent scam emails pretends to come from HM Government asking for donations to help the NHS treat people affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. Action Fraud has warned the public to be on their guard and that any money
sent will end up in the hands of criminals, not the NHS.
Taking a moment to stop and think before parting with your money or personal information. Always be suspicious and on your guard to keep yourself safe and protect yourself from scammers.
Ask yourself - could this be fake? It's ok to reject, refuse or ignore any requests your receive. Only criminals will try to rush or panic you, and something which sounds to good to be true, probably is.
If you think you have been the victim of a scam on the policy you hold with us contact Phoenix Wealth using the contact details on our
contact page. It's important to notify your bank and report scams to Action Fraud by calling 0300 123 2040 or visiting
Report to Action Fraud.
For more information on Covid-19 scams and fraud visit these websites:
Friends Against Scams
National Crime Agency
National Trading Standards
Financial Conduct Authority
Most of our customers find it's quick and easy to get the answers to their questions online. Some of the key things you may be able to do online, depending on your policy, include:
For more about our online services, please visit our online services page.
You can still email us or send a secure message by visiting our contact us page.
Our telephone lines are still open. Before calling, please consider if your call is urgent to help the most vulnerable customers who need to speak to us.
We recognise that market falls caused by the Covid-19 pandemic are understandably unsettling and may be causing you some concern about the performance of your pension or investment. It can be worrying to see your investments fall in value, especially in these unprecedented times.
Whilst there's such uncertainty in the markets, it's reassuring to know that the fundamental principles of investment remains the same: get financial advice and focus on the long term.
Although we can't give you advice on what to do, here are some of the things you might want to consider.
It's likely that the coronavirus will continue to have an impact on markets over the coming months. But it's also important to remember that, ups and downs are part and parcel of investing.
The key thing to remember is that investing is a long-term commitment. Investing with a long-term outlook and with long-term goals is the best way to reduce the impact of stock market fluctuations and see out periods of volatility.
There have been many times in the past when major global events have caused markets to fall, particularly in the short-term. A look back at historical performance of share markets shows that eventually markets do recover over time. It's uncertain when this might happen, but even when you consider events like, for example, the Dot.com crash and the Global Financial Crisis - a long term investment strategy can provide an attractive opportunity for growth.
Remember though that investment growth isn't guaranteed - investments can fall in value too. And it's possible to get back less than you paid in.
Why not take a look at our 'Managing your investments' page? You'll find useful information on some of the key things to consider, particularly the closer you get to retirement.
It takes a look at:
Find out more here.
At turbulent times like this, the skills and experience of financial advisers can really help. If you're unsure how the outbreak of Coronavirus is affecting your investments, or whether you should take action, please speak to a financial adviser. If you don't have an adviser, you can find out how you might benefit from using one, and how to find one local to where you live.