The Labour party wants to introduce further measures surrounding the government’s proposed cold-calling ban on pensions in a bid to strengthen the rules and achieve tougher sanctions.
In a reading of the Financial Guidance and Claims bill today (24 April) Jack Dromey, shadow pensions minister, said the party had tabled a number of amendments to the bill, which will take away power from unregulated introducers.
Mr Dromey said 11 million pensioners were targeted annually by cold callers with fraudsters making 250 million calls a year, or eight every second.
He told about a Port Talbot supervisor who broke down in tears after speaking to The Pensions Advisory Service (Tpas) and realising he had been scammed alongside all the people on his shift, who had followed his lead and now "faced a bleaker future".
The original wording of the bill means the introducers making the calls such as in the British Steel debacle would not be restricted from ding so as they are not covered by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), he said.
Labour wants to change that.
The party has approached the topic on a four-pronged basis: banning cold calling on pensions; placing a total ban on claims management companies; banning the use of information obtained from cold calling and ensuring the strongest possible sanctions are put on those who break the ban.
Mr Dromey's proposals follow latest amendments which could see pension cold-calling banned by June.
The amendment tabled by HM Treasury on 5 March stated the regulations underpinning the ban on pension-related cold calls should be made by the Secretary of State before the end of June.
If the power is not exercised by June, the secretary of state for Work & Pensions, currently MP for Tatton Esther McVey, must explain to parliament why the rules have not been created.
Mr Dromey said: "Pension cold calling [is] a blight on people up and down the UK.
"The government's commitment to ban pensions cold calling from June of this year is a necessary and wholly welcome step for them to take.
"These amendments seek to tighten the provision around the ban and ensure its fit for purpose.
"The move to ban the use of the information means that those firms who provide financial services and are covered by the FCA will be banned from using the information such introducers gather.
"This is a slight shifting of the ban to strengthen it further. The FCA has much stronger powers than the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) and can strike off members who contravene the rules.”
Earlier today (24 April) it emerged claims management companies will need to be able to demonstrate they have "suitable competency" in the sector they operate in when they start being regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.
HM Treasury has decided these companies will fall under the remit of the FCA, after concluding their current regulator lacked the powers and resources to regulate the market.