Pre-Employment Screening guidance published for Pensions Administrators



In response to recently reported fraud cases within the pensions administration industry, the Pensions Administration Standards Association (PASA) have published official guidance on pre-employment checks, in an effort to support administrators and safeguard the industry.

PASA has discovered that in some recent instances, individuals are thought to have deliberately gained employment within the pension administration industry “with the specific intention of committing fraud,” and that this fraud was either undertaken by, or assisted by employees of pension administrators.

Pension Administrators are responsible for the day-to-day running of pension member accounts, with access to personal information of members, bank details, ID documents and the ability to calculate and make payments or transfers. Administrators often deal with older members of the population (of pension age) who may in some cases, be deemed more vulnerable.

PASA warned that the pension administration industry is “inevitably” going to be targeted by fraudsters due to the nature of the responsibilities of the role, and the often high value work that is undertaken.

The guidance has been published by PASA’s Cybercrime and Fraud Working Group, aiming to support administrators in ensuring effective and comprehensive pre-employment checks of their staff.

The recommended checks for pension administration employees advised within the document include:

The associations of the individual concerned

  • Employment history

  • Directorship/disqualification checks

Residency

  • Address History

Property Ownership

  • Ownership information

  • Current estimated value

  • Charges (debt or mortgage)

  • Maps and imagery

  • Planning applications

  • Financial Probity checks

Personal

  • ID checks/verification

  • Social Media checks

  • Adverse Media checks

  • PEPs and Sanctions checks

  • Professional registration checks

  • Qualification checks

PASA advises employers to assess the level of risk related to the role for which they are recruiting, and reminds them that the level of risk is not necessarily related to the seniority of the position:

“It’s possible for individuals in relatively junior positions to have access to key parts of a process. For example, information returned by prospective beneficiaries about their identity or bank accounts, or the ability to copy and transfer data – which means there’s a higher level of risk.”

The advice given in the document is to rate the level of risk of key positions by imagining what a dishonest individual may be able to do, were they to successfully gain employment in the role.

“This guidance indicates the types of checks which can be carried out and the information which can be verified, rather than what should be done in every case.”

PASA Cybercrime and Fraud Working Group chair, Jim Gee

Jim Gee (PASA Cybercrime and Fraud Working Group chair) reiterates that Administrators are responsible for ensuring that checks are proportionate, necessary and relevant to the level of risk. Further advice can be sourced from legal experts or professional background screening bodies.

 
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