The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) searched a business premises in Chichester today as part of an investigation into the making of nuisance calls related to pensions.

A change in the law earlier this year made cold calls about pensions illegal in certain circumstances.

David Clancy, ICO Enforcement Group Manager, said: “The law now offers greater protection for people troubled by cold calls about their hard-earned pensions. This includes a ban on certain types of calls being made in relation to pensions.

“Today’s search and our investigation should serve as a warning to business owners that they must follow the law.”

The warrant, executed in the centre of the city, saw computer equipment and documents seized for analysis. The ICO’s investigation into the matter is ongoing.

The newer, stricter rules on who can make a live marketing call in relation to pension schemes say:

  • calls can only be made by a trustee or manager of a pension scheme or a person or firm authorised by the FCA; and
  • the person being called must have either specifically consented to being called by that company, or the caller’s relationship with the individual must meet a strict criteria.

If a member of the public thinks they have received an unsolicited pensions call they can report the details to us on the ICO website. There is also advice for businesses about the rules on the ICO website.

If you need more information, please contact the ICO press office on 0303 123 9070, or visit the media section on our website.

Notes to Editors

  1. The Information Commissioner’s Office upholds information rights in the public interest, promoting openness by public bodies and data privacy for individuals.
  2. The ICO has specific responsibilities set out in the Data Protection Act 2018, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), the Freedom of Information Act 2000, Environmental Information Regulations 2004 and Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations 2003.
  3. The Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations (PECR) give people specific privacy rights in relation to electronic communications. There are specific rules on:
    • marketing calls, emails, texts and faxes;
    • cookies (and similar technologies);
    • keeping communications services secure; and
    • customer privacy as regards traffic and location data, itemised billing, line identification, and directory listings.

      The rules on live marketing calls relating to pensions are in regulation 21B.
  4. We aim to help organisations comply with PECR and promote good practice by offering advice and guidance. We will take enforcement action against organisations that persistently ignore their obligations.
  5. The ICO has the power under PECR to impose a monetary penalty on a data controller of up to £500,000.
  6. Any monetary penalty is paid into the Treasury’s Consolidated Fund and is not kept by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO).
  7. To report a concern to the ICO, visit ico.org.uk/concerns.