21st November 2016
The Government is to ban cold calling by pension scammers with fines of up to £500,000 planned for those who break the rules.
The move will announced in full in this week’s Autumn statement.
The move has been prompted by a grass roots campaign started by independent financial advisers and backed by their clients, consumer groups and pension firms.
A Parliamentary petition, started by Red Circle IFA director Darren Cooke with the simple demand Cold calling by phone or email for investment or pensions should be made illegal, has garnered 7,793 signatures at time of writing. Athough it requires 10,000 to ensure a government response, support by many Parliamentarians in the Commons and House of Lords have now elicited a government response.
The move will aim to stamp out the approximately 250m scam calls a year leading to pensions fraud of almost £19m in 2015.
It is thought that all calls relating to pension investments where a business has no existing relationship with the individual will be forbidden. Similar rules already cover cold calls relating to mortgages.
There are concerns that the government may struggle to stop scammers operating from outside the UK while there are no plans at present to apply the ban to mobile phone texts.
The ban was also backed by former Conservative pension minister Ros Altmann and former Lib Dem pension minister Steve Webb and included Martin Lewis of the website Money Saving Expert.