The UK’s Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has imposed a penalty on Halifax-based company Parkin Beacher (PB) for making illegal marketing calls to people about their pensions.
Operating under the trading name Your Pension Options, the firm called members of the public about possible pension reviews to then arrange an introduction to a financial adviser.
The firm admitted to making 96,817 calls, with the ICO receiving 16 complaints.
But pensions cold-calling was made illegal in the UK in 2019. There are some exceptions to the ban, however PB did not qualify.
It will now need to pay £50,000 ($70,000, €59,000).
No informed concent
The ban on pensions cold-calling only allows firms to contact people if:
- They are authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority,
- They are the trustee or manager of an occupational of personal pension, and
- The recipient consented to being called or has an existing relationship with the caller.
Personal data was sourced from a third-party supplier.
The information was collected from various websites after people agreed to receive marketing materials from several sectors and organisations, but they were seemingly unable to select which ones they were happy to hear from.
The ICO said that, as such, PB did not have informed consent from the people it called.
On top of the fine, the pension firm has also been given an enforcement notice ordering it to stop making further calls.
Andy Curry, ICO head of investigations, said: “Cold calls are a common way of attempting to defraud people out of their pensions and we will take tough action where we find companies carrying out this kind of marketing.
“The law was updated specifically to protect these often-vulnerable people and their retirement funds.
“Companies are responsible for knowing the law and following it. We have a range of powers and enforcement action which we can and will take on behalf of the public to put a stop to the activities of unscrupulous companies.”