Regulation  

Introducer fined after making thousands of pension cold-calls

Introducer fined after making thousands of pension cold-calls

A Halifax-based company has been fined £50,000 by the Information Commissioner's Office after making 97,000 marketing calls to people offering to review their pensions.

According to the ICO, Parkin Beacher Ltd, which trades as Your Pension Options, made 96,817 pension cold calls, when it was not authorised to do so.

The ICO received 16 complaints from people about the company’s activities.

The ICO’s investigation found the calls made by the company related to possible pension reviews, with a view to arranging an introduction to an adviser.

The company sourced the data for its calls from a third-party data supplier which obtained the data from various websites. 

According to the ICO, these sites required those signing up to agree to receiving marketing from various companies.

However, people were unable to select which, if any, of these companies they were happy to have their details passed on to and therefore PBL did not have informed consent from the people it called.

Along with the fine, the ICO has also issued PBL with an enforcement notice ordering them to stop making further calls.

Andy Curry, ICO head of investigations, said: ”Cold calls are a common way of attempting to defraud people out of their pensions and we will take tough action where we find companies carrying out this kind of marketing. The law was updated specifically to protect these often vulnerable people and their retirement funds.

“Companies are responsible for knowing the law and following it. We have a range of powers and enforcement action which we can and will take on behalf of the public to put a stop to the activities of unscrupulous companies.”

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.

Companies can only call people about their pensions if they are authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), or are the trustee or manager of an occupational or personal pension scheme, and the recipient of the call consents to calls, or has an existing relationship with the caller.

amy.austin@ft.com

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