FSA criticised for undermining cold-calling threat

Ramesh Sharma

March 18, 2006

One broker explained: “I was cold-called by a firm offering me a mortgage. When I told them that the practice was illegal they informed me that as they were a marketing service, and not regulated by the FSA, they were allowed to do it. I was shocked by this and didn’t really believe it, but when I spoke to the FSA they confirmed the same.

I informed them of the situation and that leads were being passed on to brokers, but it said, as the firm is not authorised by the FSA, there is not a lot that can be done. It seems ridiculous that I can’t place a complaint against a company obviously cold-calling.”

In a separate incident, another source told of his shock at the FSA’s failure to act on cold-calling evidence. He said: “I made an official complaint to the FSA against a firm cold-calling me, but since I handed in the complaint the firm has cold-called me a further three times. There is clear evidence the firm has been cold-calling and for the FSA to do nothing about it annoys me. I pay my fees and expect to be able to rely on the FSA to stamp out any illegal activities in the market, but they are showing a complete lack of support.”

Responding to the allegations, Robin Gordon-Walker, spokesperson at the FSA, said: “We welcome any tips from brokers about cold-calling but we can’t provide a running commentary on what action we are taking. It is a lengthy process and much is done behind closed doors.” He added information regarding lead generation would also have to be taken into account for any brokers relying on outside, marketing sources for leads.

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