Govt consultation on cold-calling ban ‘imminent’; ban not likely until autumn

A consultation on the pensions cold calling ban is to be published “imminently”, however parliamentary approval isn’t likely until after autumn, the government has said.

In a statement yesterday, 12 June, Economic Secretary to the Treasury John Glen said that he had laid a before parliament the progress that has been made on the ban, as required under the Financial Guidance and Claims Act 2018.

The government missed the initial June deadline to introduce the ban, after the Financial Guidance and Claims Bill was given royal ascent in May, however it now said that it has only just started to seek the views on the draft regulations of the ban.

In a statement to the House of Commons Glen said: “Pensions cold calling is an important and complex issue. Pensions scams can have devastating consequences and cold calling is the most common method used to initiate pensions scams, so the government have taken the time to ensure the ban works for consumers.”

Glen added that it will consider consultation responses in the autumn and “bring the regulations into force as soon as possible thereafter”.

The government has been under increasing pressure to implement the ban, with the Liberal Democrat MP Stephen Lloyd writing to the government to urge them not to delay the ban at the end of June.

In June, HM Treasury rejected calls from the Work and Pensions Committee chair Frank Field to extend the pensions cold-calling ban to in-person approaches.

Responding to Field, Glen said that they did not intend to extend the ban to in-person introducers, which promote pensions transfers and generate leads for financial advice firms.

Furthermore, recent City of London Police figures revealed that £51m had been lost by savers to investment fraudsters in the first three months of 2018, up from £30m over the same period last year, highlighting the urgency of the issue.

AJ Bell senior analyst Tom Selby, said: “Indeed, these recent figures suggest the problem could be getting worse rather than better, yet the government continues to prevaricate over introducing a ban on pensions cold-calling that was first announced in November 2016.

“While ministers delay, millions of hard-working savers are at greater risk of being targeted by financial fraudsters.”

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