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Derbyshire IFA starts campaign against pension cold callers

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Derbyshire IFA starts campaign against pension cold callers

Derbyshire-based IFA Darren Cooke has started a petition to convince the government to ban all cold calling connected to pensions and investments. 

Cooke (pictured), who is is director at Red Circle Financial Planning, launched the petition on the government's official website yesterday.

It calls on the government to make it illegal to cold call people offering investments or free pension reviews. 

'Cold calling on investments and pensions to members of the public very often leads to unregulated investments and scams. Banning cold calling would dramatically reduce the number of people falling prey to fraudsters and losing their savings and pensions,' Cooke's petition states. 

The petition was initially sponsored by a number of other advisers including Chris Daems of Essex-based Cervello Financial Planning, Scott Gallagher of Leicester-based Rowley Turton, and Martin Bamford of Surrey-based Informed Choice. Sense network marketing director Philip Bray and founder of robo-adviser Fiveraday Al Rush also sponsored the petition.

The petition has also received support from former pensions minister Ros Altmann through Twitter. 

Cooke said he first wanted to launch the petition when he saw a BBC documentary about pension cold calling, which was broadcast in July.

The documentary uncovered a call centre offering free pension reviews, which often went on to mention risky investments.

Cooke was concerned when he saw where the company mentioned by the BBC was based. 

'The call centre was based in Derby, 15 miles down the road from me,' Cooke said. 

The main purpose of the petition is to change the government's position on the issue: if 10,000 people sign the petition, the government will provide an official response. If 100,000 people sign it, MPs will debate the issue in the House of Commons.

However, Cooke said it was equally important that people became aware of the issue. 

'If at the end of this campaign, through coverage on Twitter, Facebook or down the pub, people put the phone down on free pension reviews that would be good,' he said.

He added that although some critics claimed the majority of cold callers were based abroad, it was important to raise people's awareness of the issue so they would not pick up the phone to a free pension review.

You can sign the petition here.

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