Banning cold calling is only half the battle – Zurich

Hannah Godfrey reports...

The ban on pensions cold calling may finally have come into force today but there is still a way to go before it will be completely effective, Zurich’s Alistair Wilson has said.

The long-awaited ban on pensions cold calling has today (9 January) come into force after an laborious journey that saw the legislation heavily debated and go through two consultations.

Although the move has been heralded as a much-needed step in the right direction, scepticism remains that more needs be done in order for the ban to be effective.

Wilson, Zurich’s head of platform strategy, acknowledged the ban would help to “frustrate fraudsters” looking to scam people out of their life savings, and described it as “a major step forward in the fight against pension fraud”.

With the pensions dashboard somewhere on the near horizon, however, he predicted scammers would step up their efforts to gain access to people’s retirement savings and so, he argued, the ban alone was not enough protection.

“Even with the protection of the law, consumers can’t afford to let down their guard as pension fraudsters are likely to evolve new tactics to sidestep the ban,” Wilson said.

“Overseas calls are not covered by the clampdown, presenting a potential loophole for scammers operating from overseas. For the ban to be effective, it needs to be backed by a vigorous and ongoing awareness-raising campaign. This will help to hammer home the message to consumers that any call they receive about their pension out of the blue is a scam.”

‘Juicy target’

AJ Bell senior analyst Tom Selby echoed Wilson’s thoughts, saying: “Prohibiting cold-calling is only part of the solution and will by no means eradicate the threat of scam activity altogether. Pensions remain a juicy target for fraudsters and some will inevitably look to circumvent the ban or simply ignore it altogether.

“The message to retirement savers from now on is crystal clear: if someone you don’t know calls out of the blue about your retirement pot, hang up the phone.”