A petition started by an IFA to ban pension cold calls has reached 1,000 signatures.
Red Circle Financial Planning director Darren Cooke started the petition two weeks ago, and is calling for the ban in order to stop vulnerable individuals being sold unregulated investments or getting taken in by scammers.
The petition says: “Cold calling on investments and pensions to members of the public very often leads to unregulated investments and scams. Banning cold calling would dramatically reduce the number of people falling prey to fraudsters and losing their savings and pensions.”
Since the pension freedoms, fraudsters and unauthorised introducer firms have targeted savers’ funds with the promise of “free pension reviews” and other services, sometimes claiming to offer regulated advice or to invest money through a regulated adviser.
Cooke told Money Marketing that the target of the petition was these unregulated firms and not advisers who may be facilitating pension transfers or switches.
Cooke says: “The IFA may say don’t transfer, but what do they know? The investment is going to gain 10 per cent, so why wouldn’t you?”
“You are not going to stop scams, but if you can make it more difficult to make contact its cutting off their oxygen. If you can make cold calls illegal that’s important because its how the vast majority of these scams start.”
Currently mortgage sales cold calls are banned, but cold calling on investments and pensions is not. This point was raised by former pensions minister Ros Altmann in a House of Lords question yesterday.
However, Altmann has previously questioned whether a cold-call ban would stop pension scams.
FCA conduct of business rules also currently prevent regulated advisers calling clients with high risk investments.
Sense network head of marketing Phillip Bray has designed a template email for advisers to send their clients a link to the petition.
Cooke says: “The feedback from clients has been exceptional. It shows integrity, it shows the adviser cares, so I hope IFAs will get on board with that.”
At the time of writing the petition had 1,013 signatures.
The government responds to any petition with 10,000 signatures, and petitions with 100,000 are considered for debate in Parliament.