Less than two weeks after a ban on pension cold calling finally came into force, New Model Adviser® has seen evidence that at least one business is using alternative tactics to swerve the rules.
Adviser Breakthrough emailed its customers to announce it has succeeded in cold calling prospects about an ‘investment performance review’. The investment wording avoids a ban on making calls specifically to discuss pensions.
The email, seen by New Model Adviser®, is titled ‘good news about the pension cold calling ban’. Adviser Breakthrough’s HR manager Philip Trevett writes: ‘We simply cold call business owners and company directors and use the same sort of approach as we did when talking to them about a “Pension Performance Review”. This time we offer to review the investment performance of their ISAs, bonds, cash, unit trusts and any other investments. I’m delighted with the response we’re getting.’
He added that some people it calls ask if the investment review will cover pensions.
‘We respond that our adviser will help with anything they can. We do not mention or get into any conversation about pensions, and the adviser must not, of course, go into the appointment expecting it to focus on pensions.’
The email reports that appointments had been made for Cadde Wealth Management. The firm's chief executive, Paul Cadde, is also the chief executive of Adviser Breakthrough.
Trevett’s email explains that regulations require that the purpose of the appointment ‘must be simply for the adviser to introduce the range of services offered. Review of investments, which may include pensions, will then take place in subsequent meetings with that prospective client.’
Speaking to New Model Adviser® Trevett said Adviser Breakthrough had been working on how to adapt to any pension cold call ban since the government first pledged to introduce legislation banning it, in 2016.
Trevett said appointments with regulated advisers were made on a ‘no obligation’ basis and that Adviser Breakthrough calls people again before the appointment to check they are still happy for it to go ahead.
‘The scammers are out there and we work against that. That is the whole point of what we do,’ said Trevett, adding that many investors need a second opinion.
Those who supported banning pension cold calling argued the power of the ban would come from widespread awareness that such calls were illegal, which would make it harder for scammers.
However, Trevett said he had not witnessed any appreciable increase in resistance the people it calls.
‘We have not come up to that sort of objection, no more than usual in all honesty,’ he said.