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UK ban on pensions cold-calling: statement for firms and consumers

29 Jan 19

The GFSC welcomes the ban on pensions cold-calling in the UK which came into force on 9 January 2019. It should help to end the practice, which has been used in some instances to either steal consumers’ pension savings or persuade them to invest in inappropriate schemes. This follows Gibraltar’s  introduction, in 2017, of robust regulations to prevent pension scams involving Gibraltar licensed entities. 

The UK ban complements the existing, general, cold calling ban which was introduced in Gibraltar in 1991. Supporting both bans, the GFSC will continue to take all necessary action to protect consumers and the good reputation of Gibraltar. The GFSC will not tolerate the establishment of pension cold-calling firms within the jurisdiction as a means of circumventing the UK ban. 

Existing licensees are reminded of their responsibility to safeguard consumer interests and to treat consumers fairly. The GFSC stresses that licensees should not facilitate the establishment of cold-calling firms within Gibraltar and abide by both the Gibraltar and UK bans. Licensees are encouraged to contact their supervisor if they have any concerns regarding pensions cold-calling.

Consumers should also remain vigilant and should not discuss their pension arrangements with cold-calling firms or unlicensed individuals. The bans will only be effective if consumers report such contact to the GFSC or any other relevant authority such as the UK Financial Conduct Authority. 

The UK ban covers cold-calling, texts and emails relating to pensions. Firms that breach the rules could face penalty fines of up to £500,000.

Notes:

1. The UK pension cold-calling ban was brought in under the Privacy & Electronic Communications (Amendment No.2) Regulations.

2. The UK Government press release can be found here.

3. UK Financial Conduct Authority Guidance on pension scams can be found here.

4. The Gibraltar cold-calling ban was brought in under the Financial Services (Unsolicited Calls) Regulations 1991.