PensionsSep 10 2020

Firm fined £130k over unsolicited pension cold calls

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Firm fined £130k over unsolicited pension cold calls

A Swansea-based company has been fined £130,000 by the Information Commissioner's Office after making more than 100,000 marketing calls to people about their pensions.

According to the ICO, CPS Advisory Ltd made 106,987 pension cold calls between January and April 2019, “without lawful authority”.

The ICO found that the company was not a trustee or manager of a pension scheme, was not authorised by the FCA and the evidence that it provided did not satisfy the ICO that valid consent had been obtained.

It concluded the firm's actions "represented a significant intrusion into the privacy of the recipients of such calls”.

A ban on cold-calls in relation to pensions, which includes emails and texts, was introduced on January 9, 2019. 

The ban is enforced by the ICO, which received powers to fine bosses of companies that plague people with unsolicited cold-calls as much as £500,000.

Andy Curry, ICO head of investigations, said: “Unwanted pension calls can cause real distress and even significant financial hardship to often vulnerable people, who can end up losing their hard-earned pension pot to scammers.

“This company clearly flouted the law when they should have known better. Businesses making direct marketing calls are responsible for understanding their responsibilities under the legislation, ignorance is no excuse.”

Under the cold calling law, firms can only call people about their pension if they are authorised by the FCA, are the trustee or manager of a scheme or have an existing relationship with the recipient of the call.

The cold calling ban was introduced to prevent people from falling victim to scams, which were mainly carried out via “nuisance calls”.

John Glen, economic secretary to the Treasury, said: “Pensions cold calls are the most common method used to initiate pension scams, which can rob people of their hard-earned savings and ruin lives. That’s why we banned them. 

“Today’s fine should act as a warning to others that pensions cold calling is unacceptable, and those found flouting the rules will be held to account.”

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