Pensions  

Treasury 'determined' to tackle cold-calling scams

Treasury 'determined' to tackle cold-calling scams

The government has said it will announce a new policy on cold-calling to tackle pension scams, following the launch of a parliamentary petition to ban the practice.

Speaking during the second reading of the Pension Schemes Bill, Conservative peer and government spokesperson George Young said an announcement was due on the matter in a few weeks.

“I understand that there will be an announcement in a few weeks time. At this stage I can say no more than that, but I hope it will meet the expectations that have been aroused during this debate,” he said.

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Following Lord Young's comments, a Treasury spokesman said: “We are determined to tackle the scourge of nuisance calls especially those of a fraudulent nature.

"We take the issue of pension scams, and the targeting of vulnerable people through cold calls, very seriously and are currently considering ways to protect consumers from pension scammers.“

In September, Derbyshire-based financial adviser Darren Cooke launched a parliamentary petition to ban cold-calling and emailing on pensions and investments.

Last week, a number of prominent pension providers, including Royal London, Aegon, Old Mutual Wealth and Zurich pledged their support.

As of Wednesday morning, the petition had gathered 4,690 signatures, almost half of the 10,000 needed to force a response from government.

However, Lord Young's comments suggested it may not need to hit this target to achieve its objective.

Lord Young's comments on cold-calling were part of a longer speech on the Pensions Schemes Bill, which will introduce much stricter requirements for master trusts offering auto-enrolment.

Responding to questions over whether The Pensions Regulator was adequately resourced to enforce the new rules, Lord Young said:

“The government and the pensions minister are working together to ensure the Pensions Regulator does have the resources that are needed.”

He also defended the government's decision not to introduce a flat minimum capital adequacy requirement for master trusts, saying a tailored approach was more appropriate.

james.fernyhough@ft.com