Govt launches second consultation on pensions cold-calling ban

The Treasury has launched a second consultation on banning pensions cold-calling, which aims to seek final views on already-drafted regulation. Hannah Godfrey finds out more...

The Treasury has launched a second consultation on banning pensions cold-calling, which aims to seek final views on already-drafted regulation.

Defining this process as a ‘technical consultation’, the government said it hoped to put the final regulations before both Houses of Parliament in the autumn.

The government has already drafted various regulations on banning pensions cold calling from a previous consultation. So far, these include a ban on all pensions cold calling, except when an individual has given specific consent to receiving marketing calls on pensions, or the recipient of the call has an existing client relationship with the caller.

Additionally, only firms regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority would have the above exemptions applied to them and, as such, unregulated introducers would not be able to make any cold-calls.

The government also said it wanted a wide range of activities that could encourage people to access their pension savings in order to invest them in inapopropriate or scam investments to be prohibited within the ban.

The Treasury is now asking for responses on whether the regulations will restrict all unsolicited direct marketing calls in relation to pensions; whether they are sufficiently flexible and ‘future-proofed’; whether they prevent ‘workarounds’; and whether they capture the range of activities that could encourage people to use their pension savings to invest in scam investments.

The governement would also like to know what the quantifiable impact of the ban on the legitimate business of firms that undertake pensions cold-calling would be.

Commenting on this latest consultation, Royal London pension specialist Helen Morrissey said: “With every day that passes, more people are being targeted by scammers and we need to get this ban in place as soon as possible.

“The consultation says it seeks ‘final views’ with the intention being to lay the regulations before both Houses in Autumn 2018 ‘subject to Parliamentary timetabling’. We urge the government not to let the timetable slip any further on this vital issue.”

Implementation delayed

The consultation will close on 16 August 2018, after which the government said it planned to make any necessary amendments to the draft regulations.

Subject to parliamentary timetabling, it intends to lay the regulations before both Houses of Parliament in autumn 2018.

The Financial Guidance and Claims bill, which included the legislation introducing the ban, received Royal Assent in May. In June, however, the Treasury confirmed the implementation of the ban would be delayed until autumn while it consulted further on “technicalities” in relation to the ban.