Unwanted telephone calls from pension scammers are one of the most despicable marketing tactics that rob innocent savers of their retirement income.
Lawmakers are determined to see a cold-call ban on pension scammers in place across Britain by June 2018 at the latest, but will the ban really make a difference?
Strict laws will apply to British based firms making cold calls, but all they must do is move their marketing operation offshore and the UK authorities can do nothing.
Although countries within the EU have close ties, once Britain leaves the bloc on March 19, 2019, the future for co-operating to catch the scammers between governments is unknown.
Will ban make any difference?
But the scammers are more likely to move further afield to somewhere like India, where the authorities and courts are unlikely to work with their British counterparts to catch the cold-call crooks.
The UK Parliament’s Work and Pensions Committee is urging the government to act through the Financial Claims and Guidance Bill to ban pension cold calls and make people either take or expressly opt out of guidance before they can access their pension pot.
“Every day that passes without a ban, people are being avoidably conned out of their life savings,” Frank Field, the Labour MP for Birkenhead who has been chairing the Work and Pensions Select Committee, said.
“There is no need to over-complicate this. Our proposal would see an enforceable ban in place by summer, closing at least one door on rafts of scammers at a stroke.
Life savings at risk
“Low saver engagement and high financial value makes pensions rich pickings for scammers offering fantastical returns or seemingly clever advice. The strongest weapon in the armoury against this is good advice and guidance – but people just aren’t taking it.”
The committee goes on to name investing in high risk schemes involving diamonds, overseas property developments, storage pods, forestry and films as the main domain of scammers.
“Cold calling is the leading driver of pension scams and action is desperately needed to protect individuals from the risk of losing their life savings, even though a ban on cold calls will not stop all pension scams,” said the committee report.