Parkin Beacher fined £50k on pension cold calling

The UK Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) announced it has fined Halifax-based company Parkin Beacher Ltd (PBL) £50,000 “for making illegal marketing calls to people about their pensions.”

The business, which operates under the trading name “Your Pension Options” called people about their pensions when they were not authorised to do so. This is against the law.

ICO said the ban on pensions cold-calling came into force in 2019 making it illegal for companies to make nuisance calls to people about their pension schemes except where:

  • 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

ICO Head of Investigations Andy Curry 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.”

The ICO’s investigation found that PBL made calls to people relating to possible pension reviews, with a view to arranging an introduction to an adviser.

The company admitted to making 96,817 calls and the ICO received 16 complaints from people about the company’s activities.

The ICO’s investigation found that that PBL sourced the data for its calls from a third-party data supplier which obtained the data from various websites.

“These sites required those signing up to them to agree to possible marketing from long lists of sectors and organisations,” said the ICO.

“People appeared unable to select which, if any, they were happy to have their details passed on to, or receive marketing material from.

“PBL therefore did not have informed consent from the people it called.”

The ICO has also issued PBL with an enforcement notice ordering them to stop making further calls.

People who believe they have been the victim of nuisance texts, calls or emails, should report them to the ICO, get in touch via live chat or call its helpline on 0303 123 1113.

About the Author

Mark McSherry
Dalriada Media LLC sites are edited by veteran news journalist Mark McSherry, a former staff editor and reporter with Reuters, Bloomberg and major newspapers including the South China Morning Post, London's Sunday Times and The Scotsman. McSherry's journalism has also appeared in The Washington Post, The Guardian, The Independent, The New York Times, London's Evening Standard and Forbes. McSherry is also a professor of journalism and communication arts in universities and colleges in New York City. Scottish-born McSherry has an MBA from the University of Edinburgh and a Certificate in Global Affairs from New York University.