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Govt confirms cold-calling ban including emails and texts

The Government says almost £5m was obtained by pension scammers in the first five months of 2017

Telephone-Phone-Business-Finance-General-700.jpgThe Government has confirmed measures to protect savers from pension scams, including a ban on pensions cold-calling, which will now include emails and text messages.

Other measures announced on Sunday include tightening HM Revenue & Customs rules to stop scammers opening fraudulent pension schemes, and tougher actions to prevent the transfer of money from occupational pension schemes into fraudulent ones.

The Government has said only active companies that produce regular, up-to-date accounts can register pension schemes. A statement explains that limiting transfers of pension pots from one occupational scheme to another will mean trustees have to check their receiving scheme is regulated by the FCA, has an active employment link with the individual, or is an authorised master trust.

According to AJ Bell there will be two exemptions from the proposed ban: calls where consumers have expressly requested information from a firm, and those where an existing client relationship exists.

AJ Bell senior analyst Tom Selby is concerned there is no date set for implementing the ban and wants to see it progressed through parliament as a matter of urgency.

He says: “This must be seen as the start as the fightback against scammers rather than the end, however. Policymakers should monitor the effectiveness of these measures closely and consider further changes if savers continue to be pick-pocketed by fraudsters.”

The ban will be enforced by the Information Commissioner’s Office.

Chancellor Philip Hammond confirmed in the 2016 Autumn Statement that the government would seek to ban pensions cold-calling. The announcement followed the pensions sector getting behind a petition to ban pension cold calling that was started by Red Circle Financial Planning director Darren Cooke in September last year.

The Government says almost £5m was obtained by pension scammers in the first five months of 2017. It is estimated that £43m has also been unlawfully obtained by scammers since April 2014, with those targeted having lost an average of nearly £15,000.

Pensions and financial inclusion minister Guy Opperman says: “If people have saved for a private pension, we want to protect them. This is the biggest lifesaving that individuals normally make over many years of hard work. By tackling these scammers, people should know that cold calling, apart from exceptional circumstances, is banned.”

The Pensions Regulator chief executive Lesley Titcomb says: “We welcome the tough new measures announced today which will strike a significant blow to pension scammers who devastate people’s lives by duping them out of their life savings.”

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Comments

There are 6 comments at the moment, we would love to hear your opinion too.

  1. Richard Anderson 21st August 2017 at 9:31 am

    changing the law is all well and good, but the types of people who set out to defraud the public don’t care about the law. they will undoubtedly carry on regardless. we’ll need to see some high profile scalps and severe penalties to even start to get the message across.

  2. Although why only ban pension cold calling? Surely it would be far better to ban all investment cold calling.

  3. Regrettably the pernicious social meeja is excluded. Odd, in the light that the DPP includes it for race hate etc.

  4. The useless government appear to have done it again. The penalties are levied on the firm doing the cold calling. Do they never, ever learn? As with the fines levied on general outbound call pests last year, virtually every one was a fine levied on a ltd with no assets and most ended up with a simple phoenix.

    Unless you make the directors responsible including any assets put into a trust by them or held by their immediate family both up and down the generations, then government is wasting it’s time. If a rogue director has to explain to their children and their parents that they have had their homes sequestrated because they were running a cold calling racket, you might get some sort of result.

    One example drawn at random: in May the ICO were bragging about fining Keurboom Communications (in all the papers) £400K but a quick look at Companies House will show how pointless that was: in liquidation. Assets: Nil. Liabilities: Biggest creditor HMRC. So the result is no fine, and actually a net loss to HMRC. Top work, HMG.

  5. If the Source of New Business is fully recorded, By the Regulated Adviser, Then the problem is solved, Far to many Regulated Complaints have endeavoured to “Blame” the Introducer, this should have a very good impact on the FOS, as Compliance of Complaints will not be able to defend the indefensible by blaming the Introducer. Well Done I Say

  6. At least it’s been reported on the national TV news channels and, presumably, various newspapers, which should (hopefully) put potential victims on their guard.

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