A ban on pension cold-calling will be put into law by June this year after the government introduced amendments to the Financial Guidance and Claims Bill.
The Bill, due to reach the House of Commons report stage on Monday 12 March, now includes a cold-calling ban and pension guidance provision.
The Work and Pensions Committee said the amendments brought the Bill into line with its recommendations designed to protect pensioners against scams and boost the take-up of free independent pensions guidance
Committee chair Frank Field said: “The government is now almost there, within spitting distance of what the committee proposed. I am delighted that they will be bringing forward a ban on pensions cold calling by June, as we called for.
“This represents a major leap forward in the urgent fight to protect pensioners’ savings against scams and sharp practice.”
He added: “On pension guidance, the government has moved much closer to the committee’s aspiration that the taking of independent expert guidance should be the default course of action when accessing a pension pot.
“The government can now give even greater reassurance by explicitly specifying on the face of the Bill, rather than in an explanatory memo, that the public guidance body will be the sole source of the ‘appropriate pensions guidance’.
“Guidance must come from independent and impartial experts, rather than from self-interested pension providers, if individuals are to make the best use of their savings.”
Under the amendments, pension schemes will be required to ensure people seeking to access their pension are “referred to appropriate pensions guidance” and “has either received appropriate pensions guidance or has opted out of receiving such guidance”.
No reference to independent financial advice is included in the amendments, however.
The Work and Pensions Committee said it was “to ensure that clients are to be directed towards the independent guidance service”.
It added: “The explanatory statement to these amendments indicates the government’s intention that this guidance will be provided by the new Single Financial Guidance Body.”
An additional amendment makes it clear that the FCA’s rules should make provision about how individuals are to indicate that they have received guidance or expressly opted out.