Calls for a ban on pension cold-calling appear to be on hold as the government answers pleas about proceeding with the proposed law with silence.
The ban was met with almost universal support from politicians, consumers and pension industry figure when launched for consultation before going before MPs earlier in the year.
But the draft legislation was dropped when the government ran out of time to push new laws through Westminster against deadlines imposed by Election 2017.
Many expected the bill to resurface in the Queen’s speech, but the government has not mentioned if the bill will be revived.
Silence about new law
“Unfortunately, the Queen’s Speech was disturbingly quiet on any legislation to ban pension cold-calling or give schemes and providers greater powers to block suspicious transfers,” said Kate Smith, head of pensions at financial firm Aegon.
“Pension scams won’t just go away without some serious action. Limiting the right to a statutory transfer could potentially safeguard millions of pounds from scammers. The government must keep this on its agenda, speak up and take the issue seriously.”
The cold call ban aimed to stop scammers making unsolicited phone calls or sending junk messages to consumers. Estimates of the size of the problem vary, but more than 11 million pension cold calls are made every years and savers lose at least £20 million a year to scammers.
Aviva head of retirement Alistair McQueen said: “Legal protections for pension savers have to be made a priority.
Government mulling response
“Since the introduction of pension freedoms, savers have much greater choice of how to fund their retirement. But having access to large sums of money is very attractive to scammers.
“People need to be on their guard and be aware of the different tactics used by scammers. But they need support too and we are in favour of legislation to ban cold calling and more powers for pension providers to block transfers to suspicious schemes.”
A Department of Work and Pensions spokesman said a consultation response would be published in ‘due course’.
“We are committed to tackling pension scams and helping savers to protect their money,” he said.