Stop the cold-calling

Royal London is pleased to support the petition calling for a ban on cold-calling for pension and investment products.

The petition, launched by IFA Darren Cooke of Red Circle Financial Planning and hosted on the Parliamentary website, calls on the Government to ban cold-calling for pensions and investment products. A similar ban is already in force for mortgage products.

The campaign was launched in response to reports of vulnerable individuals being targeted by scammers who encouraged them to transfer their savings out of well-regulated pensions and other savings vehicles, with the result that people lost some or all of their money. Often these scams start with a professional-sounding sales call promising attractive rates of return for those who are willing to transfer their money.

Royal London was the first major pensions provider to back the campaign and we were delighted when several other providers followed suit. As a mutual with the interests of our members and customers at the heart of what we do, we are keen to ensure that people are not taken advantage of. If individuals want to consider moving their investments, they should be able to do so on the basis of clear and accurate written information, with time to think through their options, and supported by appropriate impartial financial advice.

While there are already some restrictions on firms that make unsolicited sales calls, a general ban would help to strengthen consumer protection. If the public knew that anyone who phoned them out of the blue to sell them pensions or investment products was breaking the law, they would be likely to be much more suspicious and – ideally – to report such callers to the authorities. (Those wishing to report an actual fraud or a call that they believe was potentially fraudulent can do so via the official ‘Action Fraud’ website).

Our CEO, Phil Loney, said: “As a member-owned business, Royal London is focused on ensuring the best outcomes for consumers. Unless tougher action is taken on cold-calling, vulnerable people will continue to be at risk of unscrupulous sales calls that can put their savings at risk. I am pleased to commit Royal London to supporting this campaign.”

The campaign has gathered momentum and attracted support from former pensions ministers and financial commentators. At the time of writing the petition already has thousands of signatures and, when it passes the 10,000 mark, the Government is required to give a written response.

The issue has been raised in Parliament and the chancellor confirmed in his Autumn Statement that the Government would be looking to consult on how such a ban might be implemented. We await the details of the consultation with interest, and hope it will mean that tough action will be taken to deter the crooks and scammers who want to deprive people of their life savings.