The Government had suggested that a ban on cold calling for the purposes of marketing pensions would be in force by June 2018.
However, although the primary legislation enabling the ban – the Financial Guidance and Claims Act – is now law, the ban will not now come into force until autumn 2018.
An amendment to the Act required the Government to either table the regulations required to implement the ban by the end of June, or to explain why this had not been done.
Some commentators have suggested that the Government has devoted so much time to Brexit in recent months that other issues have been neglected, and that the pension cold call ban falls into this category. The Government has said it needs to consult further regarding some of the technicalities relating to the ban.
A Treasury spokesperson said:
“We’re committed to introducing a ban on pensions cold calling as quickly as possible. Following debates in parliament, and having considered evidence from the industry, we will launch a short consultation on the draft legislation to ensure it is as effective and robust as possible. We intend to lay the required regulations before Parliament this autumn.”
With Parliament due to break for the summer recess on July 24, there appears to be no chance of the regulations being debated in Parliament before then. Instead, the Treasury is promising a further official statement on the matter before the end of July.
Royal London director of policy Steve Webb, himself a former Pensions Minister, commented:
“Campaigners had been hoping that the vital final stage in implementing a cold-calling ban would have been completed by now. It is deeply disappointing that there is now going to be yet more delay. With every passing day yet more people are being scammed after a process which started with a cold call. We don’t want a statement from the government telling us how difficult it is – we want action and action now.”
Baroness Altmann, another former Pensions Minister, said:
“The need for a ban is widely recognised.
“The sooner cold calling for pensions is outlawed, the sooner people will be better protected against being scammed and losing their life savings.
“So many people have already suffered from such pension frauds, and they almost all start with a cold call.”
In the meantime, consumers would so well to work on the assumption that a genuine financial services firm would never contact them out of the blue about pensions or any other financial product or service.
Once it is finally in force, the ban will include a prohibition on unsolicited text and email marketing, and responsibility for enforcing the ban will rest with the Information Commissioner’s Office.
The information shown in this article was correct at the time of publication. Articles are not routinely reviewed and as such are not updated. Please be aware the facts, circumstances or legal position may change after publication of the article