Royal London Pensions  

Providers unite to back petition banning cold calling

Providers unite to back petition banning cold calling

A number of providers have backed a petition calling for cold calling to sell pensions and investments to be stopped.

On 23 September this year, Derbyshire-based Darren Cooke of Red Circle Financial Planning launched a parliamentary petition calling for a ban on all cold-calling related to pensions or investments.

The petition, which has attracted almost 2,000 signatures, with the mandatory sponsorship of five prominent financial planners, is gaining momentum as providers are now backing it.

Royal London, Aegon, Old Mutual Wealth and Zurich have today (27 October) pledged their support of the petition towards achieving the first goal of 10,000 signatures, which will force the government to respond formally.

Phil Loney, chief executive of Royal London said in a tweet earlier today that the firm employs just over 3000 staff who will receive the link to the petition next week via its internal communications site.

He said: “As a member-owned business, Royal London is focused on ensuring the best outcomes for consumers.  

"Unless tougher action is taken on cold-calling, vulnerable people will continue to be at risk of unscrupulous sales calls which can put their savings at risk.”

Kate Smith, head of pensions at Aegon, said the firm was all too aware of the damage that scams can do to people’s pension savings and fully support initiatives to stop scammers in their tracks.

She said: "Scammers are opportunists playing on people’s fears, using cold-calling and persuasive techniques to part savers from their hard-earned savings.

"Pension freedoms coupled with low interest rates and Brexit–related uncertainties have unfortunately further opened the door for pension scams. We are determined to raise awareness of potential scams and protect our customers.”

Iain Mills, director of operational taxes for Zurich UK Life, said the firm remains supportive of a ban on cold calling to help protect consumers from pension scammers.

"We estimate a ban on cold calling would lead to a 90 per cent reduction in requests to transfer to dubious pension or investment schemes where people’s life savings are at risk.   

"Some commentators have suggested that a cold call ban would push the activity overseas.  But we believe consumers would be more likely to hang up on scammers if they were aware such calls were illegal."

He added providers would also be able to highlight the illegality of cold calling to deter customers from pressing ahead with transfers to suspicious schemes.

A spokesperson for Old Mutual Wealth confirmed the firm is also in support of the campaign.

The firm has previously conducted research into the dangers of cold calling and told FTAdviser it is aware of the growing risks. 

The spokesperson said: "A number of staff have already signed the petition and we are exploring opportunities to further support the initiative.” 

A spokesperson for Standard Life said: "Cold-call sales of pensions and investments are a serious matter. We would welcome further exploration of what can be done to target the worst categories of cold-callers."