Hammond to Ban Pension Cold Calls in U.K. Autumn Statement

  • Caller must have existing relationship to individual targeted
  • Offenders could face enforceable fine of up to 500,000 pounds

U.K. Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond will use his Autumn statement on Wednesday to announce a ban on pension cold-calling to protect people from being tricked out of their savings.

Almost 11 million retirees are targeted by cold-callers every year and almost 19 million pounds ($23 million) was lost to pension scams between April 2015 and March 2016, the Treasury said in a statement.

Philip Hammond

Photographer: Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg

The scams are often presented as unique investment opportunities, such as putting your retirement savings in a new hotel or “ethical” projects that promise huge returns. Under the government’s plan, all calls from a business that has no existing relationship with the individual will be outlawed. 

This includes those that target people who inadvertently opt-in to receiving third-party communications. Those who break the new rules will be liable to a fine of as much as 500,000 pounds enforced by the Information Commissioners Office.

The chancellor also wants to give companies more power to block suspicious transfers, prevent people’s life savings being transferred into scams without any checks and make it harder for fraudsters to open bogus pension plans. A consultation will open before the end of the year and the next steps will be announced in the 2017 Budget.

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