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Ros Altmann: FCA should ban firms from using leads generated by cold-calling

Ros AltmannThe FCA should ban firms from using leads generated by cold-calling to better protect the public, former pensions minister Ros Altmann says.

Yesterday, the FCA and The Pensions Regulator published new figures as part of an advertising campaign that revealed victims of pension fraud lost on average £91,000 each in 2017.

The advertising campaign is aimed at pension savers aged between 45 and 65 and highlights the common tactics used by pension scammers, for example, offering a free pension review.

Although Altmann says such awareness campaigns are welcome, she argues they will not end the “growing scourge” of pension scams and a tougher approach is needed.

Her criticism echoes that made by MPs and she proposes the FCA should instruct all regulated pension firms that they must not sell their products to people who have come to them via a cold-call.

She says: “Of course providers need to market their products, but the unsolicited telephone call or text message to a private mobile or landline or email should not be seen as a valid way of doing so.”

Altmann adds: “If purchasing or using the lead generators’ information breached FCA rules, the FCA could then revoke the provider’s registration which would force firms to find other ways of selling their products, and ensure customers are much more effectively protected.”

“This would not actually require new legislation. The FCA could change its rules now, to prohibit use of cold-calling leads. The sooner it does so, the better.”

Altmann says cold-calling operations are highly sophisticated and FCA-regulated providers can use such leads and still trick people into losing their life savings or transferring into poor investments.

Altmann says a ban would be more effective than the government’s messaging campaign that suggests people should check the FCA register or call it to see if a cold-calling company is from a firm authorised by the FCA.

She adds most members of the public would not bother to check registration details and trying to get through on hotlines can take half an hour of holding on, which will deter most people.

She says the ban on using cold-call leads would be additional to the ban on cold-calls that is currently in the process of being consulted on.

The government was meant to implement a cold call ban by the end of June but has postponed it until autumn.

The consultation closes on the 17 August.



Second cold-call ban consultation released

The Treasury has today published a “technical consultation” relating to the ban on pensions cold-calling, following criticism for missing its June deadline. The Treasury confirmed last month the implementation of the ban would be delayed due to “technicalities”. At that time, a Treasury spokesman said: “Following debates in parliament, and having considered evidence from the industry, […]


Regulator warns of cold-calling imposters

The Pensions Regulator has warned that fraudsters might be attempting to steal workers’ savings by falsely claiming to be it on the phone. TPR says some savers are being cold-called by people who have posed as it and offered those in a workplace pension scheme a free pension review. TPR says it never cold-calls savers […]


Govt makes delay to cold-call ban official

The government has made the postponement of a cold-call ban until autumn official. Under the terms of terms of the Financial Guidance and Claims Act 2018, the government was required to bring forward its plans for a ban on cold-calling by the end of June. If government did not introduce a ban by June it […]


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There are 11 comments at the moment, we would love to hear your opinion too.

  1. So a cold calling ban will stop scammers???? I suppose bans have worked to control crooks in other areas, because crooks are very law abiding, and would stop cold calling because it has been banned!!!! Very logical.

  2. Nicholas Pleasure 15th August 2018 at 9:55 am

    It must be a very cold day in hell today. I’ve just found something that I agree with Ros Altman about. Sensible idea.

    • Me too, though it occurs to me that this suggestion from Ros indicates she has no more confidence than I that a legal ban on cold calling is likely to make a scrap of difference, for the simple reason that it’ll be almost completely un-enforceable. Cold calls will either be made from or routed via offshore call centres, whilst there’s plenty of software out there to block source tracing.

      I’ve received in the past a few calls from outfits offering leads to people who’ve “expressed an interest” in a review of their pension arrangements. But as soon as you tell them you charge fees for such reviews, they swiftly back off, never to be heard from again.

  3. Spot by Ros Altman and an approach that I understand the FCA already use on mortgages.

    Why they have simply said that, for a case to be compliant, it can’t originate from a cold call I just can’t understand.

    By making cold call cases a compliance issue then arguably any losses to the client could be compensated by the adviser accepting the cold call case.

    This wouldn’t stop all scams but would stop advisers involved in these avoiding any responsibility.

    As for Denis’s comment about crooks being law abiding, by his own logic we should dispense with all laws.

  4. @Nicholas Pleasure that was exactly the point of the campaign to ban cild calling I started nearly 2 years ago. It is not theban itsekf that will help stop scammers but the publuc knowledge that any cold csll is a scam so just hang up.

  5. If greedy people stopped trying to get ‘something for nothing’, the scammers would ALL fail.
    Education, education, education!

  6. Sensible, proportionate rules. Won’t catch everyone, as not every transfer requires an fca authorised gatekeeper, and not all gatekeepers are as smart or honest as they should be, but this would be quick and cheap to implement, and very effective. Finally a suggestion that will pass the cost benefit test and doesn’t rely on the honest market to subsidise the dishonest market.

  7. I seems some-one has acquired some common sense for once….lets hope its catching !

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