The government has allowed the pensions cold calling deadline to slide until the Autumn, which may mean vulnerable pensioners could still be targeted by firms conning them out of their pension pots.
Money Marketing reported that following pressure from financial advisers and pension providers, the Treasury tabled a twofold amendment to the >Financial Claims and Guidance Bill, which included tabling regulations by the end of June to implement the cold calling ban or to make a statement by the end of July explaining why this had not been done.
The amendment, clause 21 of the Act, must be debated in both Houses of Parliament before the regulation can be introduced. But time has run out for this to happen with the government taking the summer recess on 24 July.
The treasury intimated that the ban would be revisited in the Autumn as the government continues to consult on technicalities.
A treasury spokesperson said: “We’re committed to introducing a ban on pensions cold calling as quickly as possible. Following debates in parliament, and having considered evidence from the industry, we will launch a short consultation on the draft legislation to ensure it is as effective and robust as possible. We intend to lay the required regulations before Parliament this autumn.”
Industry experts are up in arms about the implications of the delay.
Steve Webb director of policy at Royal London is “deeply disappointed”. He said: “With every passing day yet more people are being scammed after a process which started with a cold call.”
AJ Bell senior analyst Tom Selby said: “Too many savers have already been fleeced out of their hard-earned retirement pots by scammers, with cold-calling one of the main tactics employed. The glacial pace of Government action on this is frankly shameful and increases the risk of millions of savers being targeted using this method.”
Aon’s Chris McWilliam expressed disappointment that the government was unable to stick to its original schedule. He said: “This delay means that more savers are at risk of being conned out of their hard-earned pensions savings. This will result in more employees needing to work longer and being more likely to retire into poverty.”
He suggested that HR teams warn staff of the dangers of being conned out of their money, and pointed to the advice given by the Pensions Regulator’s recently published tips to avoid being scammed:
- Reject unexpected offers - if you’re contacted out of the blue, chances are it’s high risk or a scam
- Check who you’re dealing with – only use FCA authorised firms
- Don’t be rushed or pressured – take your time to make all the checks you need
- Get impartial information and advice
Aon UK Limited is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Registered in England and Wales. Registered number: 00210725. Registered Office: The Aon Centre, The Leadenhall Building, 122 Leadenhall Street, London EC3V 4AN.