Pension scammers cold-call eight people every second, but the government may not have laws in place to stop them until 2020, a minister has revealed.
Around 250 million cold calls are made every year, with 11 million retirement savers receiving calls since April 2015, according to official figures from the Money Advice Service.
Fraudsters are thought to have stolen nearly £50 million in retirement savings because of the calls.
The government announced new laws were on the way to crack down on pension scammers in the 2016 Autumn Budget, but they were delayed by the General Election 2017.
Even though Brexit legislation is dominating business at Westminster for the next two years, the government pledged to pass a ban on cold calling.
Now, Economic Secretary to the Treasury Stephen Barclay has told MPS on Parliament’s Work and Pensions Committee that he has a timetable for implementing the new law, but will not name a date.
“We don’t want to legislate without consultation because of the impact a cold calling ban could have on legitimate marketing,” he told the committee.
“Within the draft of the legislation, one needs to look at how to balance it against the legitimate marketing. That detail needs to be consulted on, which is why we need the draft legislation.
“We want to get the legislation right, because there is complexity, but there is a commonality of interest that no-one wants to see people being ripped off.
No firm date promised
“How do we land the legislation in the right way? It’s not about giving a firm date; it’s about how do we get the policy right?”
The minister went on to explain that the government does intend to “fundamentally amend” a House of Lords’ amendment to the Financial Guidance and Claims Bill to order regulators to report each year on cold calling.
Barclay told the MPS that bringing in the ban this way would mean the new rules would not be in place until 2020.
“How do we this as quickly as possible? The concern is that the amendment says the single financial guidance body can bring an annual report,” he said.
“To some extent if one followed that amendment through to conclusion, you would have an earliest date of 2020. We have an ambition to act before 2020.”