UK to delay ban on pension cold calling amid snap election

Added 20th April 2017

The UK government could delay introducing a ban on pension cold calling after British prime minister Theresa May called a snap election for 8 June, according to investment platform AJ Bell.

UK to delay ban on pension cold calling amid snap election

The ban was originally unveiled in the Autumn Statement last November and was designed to tackle widespread fraud following the pension freedoms, which came into force in April 2015.

During his Budget speech in March, chancellor Philip Hammond said the government was committed to introducing a ban, with a consultation response due “in Spring”.

Delay

However, this is likely to be “kicked into the long grass” until after the general election on 8 June, said Tom Selby, senior analyst at AJ Bell.

“Five months on from the announcement of a long overdue clampdown on fraudsters, the government has still not confirmed when the ban will be introduced or how other measures will be implemented.

“With a snap election now on the horizon, we are deeply concerned this vital consultation will be kicked into the long grass,” he said in a statement.

“It is not clear to us why any business would need to ring an individual out of the blue about an investment ‘opportunity’."

Selby added that delaying implementation of vital consumer protection measures such as the cold calling ban could put millions of savers at risk.

Ban investment cold calling

He also urged the UK government to “seriously consider” expanding the cold calling ban to include investments.

“It is not clear to us why any business would need to ring an individual out of the blue about an investment ‘opportunity’. Putting a stop to this would discourage scammers attempting to circumvent the ban and further strengthen the message to savers not to engage with anyone who cold calls them,” said Selby.

Policy distractions

Darren Cooke, chartered financial planner at Red Circle Financial Planning, launched the petition which eventually led to the government announcing the ban on pensions cold calling.

He said: “The regulatory bodies have stepped up their efforts to warn people of the dangers of cold calling and scams but we need the ban to be in place to send that definite message to the public to just hang up on a cold call.

"We must continue to push for the legislation to be on the statute books as soon as possible to protect the public - every day of delay more people will lose their money and their financial future.”

Kate Smith, head of pensions at Aegon, said the “distraction of a general election will have consequences on existing policy initiatives”.

“Casualties of the snap election could include the Finance Bill which was expected to get Royal Assent in July, and the Queen’s Speech, originally scheduled for June, which was touted to set out another Pensions Bill to tackle pension scams,” she said.

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Monira Matin

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Monira joined International Adviser in March 2016 from Informa Global Markets where she worked as a eurobond reporter for over two years, covering fixed income markets. She has previously held a number of editorial positions covering politics, insurance and technology. Monira has a degree in Journalism and Economics from City University.

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