Regulation

Government to push through pension cold calling ban

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13th February 2018
call centre pension scam cold phone
" A ban on cold calling is already long overdue and this will go some way to restoring momentum behind it."

The government has stressed its priorities for the Financial Guidance and Claims Bill, aiming to push through a ban on pension cold calling "as quickly as possible".

In its response to a Work and Pensions Select Committee report, the government says "we agree with the Committee’s aim of finding an alternative, quicker way to ban pensions cold calling".

Alongside the Committee's recommendations for a ban on pensions cold calling, it is also seeking changes to the Bill which would require people to receive or expressly refuse guidance before they can access their pension pot.

The government has also agreed with the suggested amendment "which seeks to strengthen the nudge towards pensions guidance", stating that it "is committed to finding ways to reach more people and continue to deliver an effective service".

It noted the development of the pensions dashboard which will allow savers to see all of their pension entitlements in one secure, online location, and reiterated its plans to raise awareness of the Pension Wise service.

However it agreed that the Financial Guidance and Claims Bill 2017 should "be amended to ensure that people either take or expressly refuse guidance before they can access their pension savings".

Laura McAlpine, Zurich's senior public affairs manager, said: "This is a victory for consumers and common sense. A ban on cold calling is already long overdue and this will go some way to restoring momentum behind it. It is vital that the Government speeds the measures through Parliament as as a matter of urgency and ensures there are no further delays to implementing the ban, which would result in even more pensioners being tricked out of their life savings. A ban on pension cold calling will help to protect the retirement pots of tens of thousands of savers and send a powerful message to consumers not to speak to firms who call them out of the blue."

Tim Gosling, Policy Lead: Defined Contribution at the Pensions and Lifetime Savings Association, added: “Free and impartial guidance is a critical piece of the retirement puzzle and it will go some distance to getting savers the outcome they deserve but we do not believe guidance will be enough on its own.

“The vast majority (84%) of retirees tell us they want an income from their pension savings. But there is no easy or obvious way for retirees to find a good quality income product for those who cannot or choose not to engage with complex financial choices. We think that trustees should be able to select an appropriate income product, which meets Government standards, and signpost their members to it.

“Of course, retirees would be free to disregard this steer and make their own choices but providing clear signposting would help those who might otherwise have struggled to make a decision.”

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