The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has issued a £130,000 ($168,560, €141,770) fine to Swansea-based CPS Advisory for making more than 100,000 unauthorised direct marketing calls to people about their pensions.
Andy Curry, ICO head of investigations, said: “Unwanted pension calls can cause real distress and even significant financial hardship to often vulnerable people, who can end up losing their hard-earned pension pot to scammers.
“This company clearly flouted the law when they should have known better. Businesses making direct marketing calls are responsible for understanding their responsibilities under the legislation, ignorance is no excuse.”
Under the law, companies can only make calls to people about their occupational or personal pensions if:
- the caller is authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), or is the trustee or manager of an occupational or personal pension scheme; and
- the recipient of the call consents to calls, or has an existing relationship with the caller.
The ICO found that CPS Advisory was not a trustee or manager of a pensions scheme, was not authorised by the FCA and the evidence that it provided “did not satisfy the ICO that valid consent had been obtained”.
The Information Commissioner decided that this represented “a significant intrusion into the privacy of the recipients of such calls”.
During its investigation, the ICO found that between 11 January 2019 and 30 April 2019, the company had made 106,987 calls to people without lawful authority.
John Glen, the economic secretary to the treasury, said: “Pensions cold calls are the most common method used to initiate pension scams, which can rob people of their hard-earned savings and ruin lives.
“That’s why we banned them.
“Today’s fine should act as a warning to others that pensions cold calling is unacceptable, and those found flouting the rules will be held to account.”
A spokesman for The Pensions Regulator, said: “This £130,000 fine should be a strong deterrent to any firm thinking of flouting the law on pension cold calls.
“If you are contacted out of the blue about a pension ‘opportunity’, that’s illegal and probably a scam. Hang up and report it to the Information Commissioner’s Office.”