A cold call to chill the heart

William Burrows, a Retirement Director at Better Retirement, writes in Professional Adviser, a publication intended to serve the Financial Services industry, about a cold call he received personally last week and which is yet another illustration of why this practice of cold calling must be stopped. His article went on as follows:-

“It is time to stop unscrupulous firms cold calling. The gist of a cold call to me personally early this week should send shivers down the spine of all good financial advisers.

I was walking down the road to get a sandwich when I answered a call on my mobile. “Have you transferred your pension to a SIPP?” I was asked. To which I replied that I had.

Then without pause or hesitation, Sam from a company called Pension Reclaim rattled off a serious of false facts that made me extremely angry. The conversation, to the best of memory, went as follows:

“If you transferred to a high-risk SIPP, you might be able to get compensation.” In response to which I asked: “Why is a SIPP high-risk?”. Then came the most shocking part.

Sam replied: “When you took out the SIPP, your adviser probably asked you about your attitude to risk and you probably said you were low or medium-risk but he would have put you into a high-risk fund and made a lot of money out of it.”

That may not be the conversation word for word as I was not recording – and yet it is 100% the essence of what was said. At this point, then, I got very angry and said I was an adviser and it was outrageous to suggest advisers would knowingly put their clients in funds that were not suitable for their risk profile.

I then asked for full details of the person who was speaking and the name of his company so I could make a complaint against them but Sam would not give me his surname, said the company was Pension Reclaim and refused to give a contact number.

I searched for Pension Reclaim on Google but found no relevant results and then tried to call the incoming number on my mobile – 07480 024287. A search on the Who called me? website revealed a catalogue of complaints about this number.

On the one hand, I know I should not get worked up about this because it is just a reflection of the fake news and call-centre driven world we now live in. On the other hand, it is simply not acceptable that:

  • Cold callers can give such misleading information;
  • These companies make serious allegations against advisers when they themselves are not regulated; and
  • Firms like this cannot be contacted in order to make a complaint.

I have no idea where it would have ended if I had been someone else and had been persuaded that I had transferred into a ‘high-risk SIPP’. But it does now appear that cold-callers are trying to have two bites of the cherry – calling people once in order to sell them high-risk investments and then calling them again to refer them to a claims-handling company”.

William Burrows is Retirement Director at Better Retirement and was writing in Professional Adviser.