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IFA’s pension cold calling petition passes 1,000 signatures

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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.

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Comments

There are 25 comments at the moment, we would love to hear your opinion too.

  1. Extremely laudable and I shall sign the petition. Sadly though, I suspect the majority of scammers will not care whether it is illegal and will continue to target people. At least such a law would make it easier to bring prosecutions against these people/firms.

  2. John hits the nail on the head – those who do this don’t care whether they should or not.

    One way to solve it is to make it illegal (which in itself wont make any difference imo unless there are regulated firms involved in making calls) and then make consumers aware it’s illegal to be cold called – if that message gets through then it should make a difference.

  3. Hi John and Paul, you are both right. I don’t expect this to stop scammers just cut out their main current route of targeting members of the public. I have no doubt they will find another way but all we can do is make it harder for them, as the article says it is already illegal to cold call mortgages and that has now stopped. If we can make this illegal as well then hopefully this will stop too or at least, as Paul says, the public will know its illegal and just hang up.

    Thanks for your support guys, sign up, get your wife or partner to sign up, your staff, colleagues everyone and use the letter to clients, feedback so far has been excellent for those that have done this,

    • This will just make it more difficult for new Ifa companies to grow their client book and grow.
      Just seems like a laudable excuse for an established firm to protect their clients from running elsewhere.
      I’ve run an IFA company and worked in financial services for 16 years.
      Protectionism stops innovation and good companies coming through.
      Well done for using this an excuse to try and protect your clients but this is not a good move and will increase the advice gap further.
      I always thought having mortgage planners in estate agents was more of an issue as the estate agent knows instantly from the mortgage planner what’s affordable and what their top line is.
      That actually costs consumers massive amounts of money on the purchase price plus interest over the term.
      This petition won’t stop the scammers, so just what is the point …..? Hhhmmmm.

  4. i think this is very short sited. we call customers to offer reviews on pensions and investments, we run a fully regulated advice service and do not deal with unregulated products, doing this will have a negative effect on consumers who do need good advice. what needs to be done is consumers need to be educated in to only dealing with fully regulated advisors and regulated products.
    we send all our clients info about scams etc to try and educate a bit more on the risks in this market place.
    if the people who are scamming actually got prosecuted for the fraud they are committing then it may put some off. but it seems that we have to foot the bill for unregulated advice and the scammers get nothing.

    • This will not prevent you from calling customers, that is not a cold call. Sadly yes too few of these scams end up in court let alone jail because the scammers often move abroad and the police do not generally have the resource to investigate financial crime and fraud outside the Met.

      • cold calling for anything is illegal already, however we call consumers to generate potential clients, so this sort of thing would stop how we run our successful business.

        • No cold calling is not already illegal, if it was the House of Commons petition committee would not have allowed this petition to proceed. Calling existing clients to generate new business is not cold calling and so a ban would not affect your business in anyway.

  5. One of my best clients came as a result of a cold call way back when I worked for a Direct Sales company Abbey Life
    How else do you expect To generate new clients if just started in the industry
    Some best advisers I know started with yellow pages and a phone

    • With respect I suspect that was a long time ago when ‘cold calling’ was what we all did these days generally people are a bit more sophisticated. I work with a group looking to encourage younger planners into the profession and not one of them has made comment that this would stop them accessing new clients. It has been said by others that if your business plan relies on cold calling its time to get a new business plan.

  6. I have signed and emailed my clients to sign as this problem will only get worse. I have also emailed our local PM for his support. Be nice to see all IFA’s getting behind this.

  7. Anthony Badaloo dipPFS FCPA 4th October 2016 at 4:32 pm

    Signed.Brilliant. Shows that action can be instigated by anyone who cares enough. Here’s my petition, regarding unlawful proceedings by certain mortgage lenders, which also made over 1,000 signatures, and climbing. Please support. Sunday Times on it.

    Sign Petition https://www.change.org/p/theresa-may-restore-the-great-british-constitution-redeem-victims-of-court-fraud

  8. It is already banned. COBS 4.8.2….who signs these things? you may as well sign a petition to make it illegal to drive without a driving licence.

  9. Not it is not already banned and COBs 4.8.2 only covers regulated advisers cold calling for high risk investments. Regulated advisers are not the problem call centres are.

    As for who signs these things will currently 1125 people have signed including Ros Altman. It has been featured in The Telegraph and Sunday Telegraph as well as the trade press. Ros has tabled a written question in the House of Lords.

    Your clients want this, the website Love Money ran an article on the petition and a poll which had 99% in favour of the ban.

  10. This Is utter nonsense. The real criminal is the Ifa signing this stuff off.
    Increase the penalties and financial consequences on those Ifa’s pedalling dodgy products. That’s the real way to tackle this.
    Penalising companies who market clients and provide a good service to customers is not the right way to go.
    It’s protectionist and means the advice gap widens, leaving a bigger hole for scammers to operate in.
    This petition means means those lazy insurance companies and fund managers with poor performance can keep on drawing their fees from clients without changing and improving. That’s the real issue for consumers.

  11. It’s not always IFAs signing these off. We’ve all been bombarded with “pension scam” leaflets from providers when we enquire about existing schemes. Providers need to check who they are sending pension info to, and not release funds to all those wonderful vapourous Cape Verde property schemes, or Bulgarian holiday complexes or whatever tomorrow’s fad venture might be. Signed, tweeted and shared.

  12. I just signed it, we need another 8,800 signatures.

  13. I’ve never met an IFA that cold calls yet, but every dodgy unregulated salesmen i’ve met, does.
    Petition signed and shared. Thanks and well done Darren!

  14. FAO. Darren. I need your email addy. I am a real life victim with a story to tell. I can send you my story and ask how we can best get this story out to best effect. Ta Stephen

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