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The Information Commissioner’s Office has issued a fine to CPS Advisory Ltd for making more than 100,000 unauthorised direct marketing calls to people about their pensions.

CPS Advisory, the parent company of Swansea-based The Advisory Network, was fined £130,000 for the breach of new laws on pensions cold calling.

Under the new cold calling laws, companies can only make calls to people about their pensions if they are authorised by the FCA and the recipient has an existing relationship with the caller.

The change to the Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulation (PECR) which covers marketing calls, phone and texts in January 2019, was introduced to prevent people falling victim to scams, most of which are carried out through nuisance calls, and potentially losing their pensions.

Under PECR, businesses can face a fine of up to £500,000 from the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO).

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.

The ICO found that the company 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.”

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.”

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."

The alleged sale of sensitive pensions data to cold calling companies ahead of the new pension freedoms arriving on Monday (6 April) is to be investigated by the Information Commissioner's Office.

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