Pensions  

Just hang up on the scammers

A cold call would be where there is no existing relationship between the two parties, they do not know each other and the call is not expected. Or, if there is an existing relationship it is for another purpose, so a call relating to pensions is not part of the existing agreement.

Referred communication

One further listed exception will be welcomed by all advisers, I think.

If you receive a referral from another professional, such as a solicitor or accountant, you will be allowed to call that person. Again, I think that is entirely appropriate and was part of my response to the original consultations on the proposed ban.

In these circumstances my argument is that the call is not ‘cold’. The potential client will be expecting your call, the solicitor or accountant will have spoken to them about the referral and given them, at the very least, the name of the firm they are recommending and probably the individual adviser’s name as well.

They will have had to do that if only to gain consent to pass on the number of the client to the adviser to cover data protection. 

Offshore move

We already know scammers have been planning to move their call operations offshore, where they will not be covered by the ban. The call in the UK will still be illegal, yet it will be all but impossible to prosecute anyone unless the call is made on behalf of a UK company.

The message to the public though will now be clear, if you receive a cold call and they ask about pensions, that person is breaking UK law. They are a criminal. The person wanting to speak to you about your pension money is already breaking the law. Just hang up.

That was always the crucial point of the campaign: that simple message to hang up on any cold caller asking about your pension.

Sadly the ban does not cover other types of investments, so scammers will still be able to cold call for those, but I feel the increased awareness will also be effective in cutting this as a source of victims for the scammers.

Thankfully the draft legislation also includes proposals to communicate that message to the public. I think we have already seen increased activity on scam awareness in the past two years with campaigns by the FCA and The Pensions Regulator under Project Bloom.

Many life companies and the Association of British Insurers supported the campaign for the ban, notably Royal London, Aegon and Retirement Advantage (now part of Canada Life) among others. All providers need to help spread the message in their marketing and client communications.