Ban on cold calls relating to pensions

Pensions related cold calling :  UK Treasury proposes amendments to the Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations (PECR).

Ban on cold calling in relation to pensions

Back in December of 2016 the UK government launched a consultation on the banning of cold calling relating to pension schemes. The vast majority of respondents strongly supported the government’s proposed interventions in respect of pension scams.

The government is now proposing amendments to the PECR to prohibit unsolicited marketing calls relating to pension schemes. However, in order to allow calls with legitimate purpose, certain exceptions will apply.

Regulation 21 of the PECR is to be amended to include an opt-in model for unsolicited marketing calls relating to pensions.

The addition of Regulation 21B stipulates that ”a person must not use, or instigate the use of, a public electronic communications service to make unsolicited calls for the purpose of direct marketing in relation to pension schemes”. This definition specifically includes:

  • the marketing of a product or service to be purchased using funds held, or previously held, in a pension scheme; and
  • the offer of any advice or other service;
  • intended to promote the transfer of funds out of a pension scheme; or
  • to enable the assessment of the performance of a pension scheme;
    • including its performance in comparison with other forms of investment.

Exceptions to the rule may apply if:

  1. the caller is regulated by the financial or pension regulator (FCA or TPR);
  2. the recipient has previously given their explicit consent to receive such calls;
  3. the recipient has an existing client relationship with the caller and envisages receiving unsolicited direct marketing calls relating to pension schemes;
  4. the recipient was given a free and simple option to refuse such calls when their details were collected, but has not opted-out;
  5. the subscriber must not permit the subscriber’s line to be used in contravention of item 1. above.

Read the Draft Regulation here.

Pensions related cold calling ~ impact on legitimate business

How will a ban on pensions related cold calling affect legitimate companies? The government’s intention is to restrict cold calls relating to pensions without impacting on legitimate non-marketing calls. The aim is to provide protection against scams where individuals are encouraged to use their pensions savings for scam investments, by:

  • capturing activities by which people might be encouraged to divert their pension funds to potential scam investments;
  • ensuring that the proposed regulations are sufficiently flexible and future-proof;
  • preventing the growth of ‘scam pensions’ cold calls that could find a work-around to the ban,

Source: HM Treasury – Draft Privacy and Electronic Communications Amendment Regulations 2018

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