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Cold-Calling: Pension Fund Transfers

Volume 638: debated on Monday 26 March 2018

9. What discussions she has had with the Chancellor of the Exchequer on prohibiting cold-calling in relation to pension fund transfers. (904555)

The Secretary of State, Treasury Ministers and I hold regular discussions on this topic as part of our work on the Financial Guidance and Claims Bill, which spans both Departments’ policy areas.

Given the importance of pensions and the many changes that have occurred under successive Governments, what proactive steps can the Department take now to ensure that my constituents and others are kept up to date and informed about their own pensions and the options available to them?

Pensions guidance is a vital part of the work that the Government are doing. We are committed to ensuring that people have access to the information and guidance that they need to make effective financial decisions. My hon. Friend will be aware that we are debating the Financial Guidance and Claims Bill in the House tomorrow. I urge him to come and listen to the positive developments in that Bill.

No time for preamble, I am afraid, as we have a lot to get through and we are running late. A short sentence—Jack Dromey.

The Port Talbot shift supervisor wept as he told the story of how he had been conned out of his pension, and that 20 people on his shift had followed his lead. The ban on pensions cold-calling is welcome, but will the Minister go further to ensure that it is for the Financial Conduct Authority, not just the Information Commissioner, to play a role in enforcement, so that those who act disreputably using information obtained through cold-calling are struck off and can never practise again?

I will answer this question in detail tomorrow, when I have more time. Anyone considering transferring their pension should speak to the Pensions Advisory Service.

Does the Minister agree that people who use cold-calling to cheat others out of their pensions are the lowest form of pond life, and will he arrange for criminal sanctions to be visited upon them?

Yes, yes and Project Bloom, a City of London police operation to ensure that we stop scammers, has brought many prosecutions—pending and future.