Marketing firms under fire

Ramesh Sharma

April 8, 2006

With the practice of cold-calling banned by the Financial Services Authority (FSA), a number of brokers have suggested the role of marketing firms to provide leads has increased. Brokers have suggested this increase is a direct result of the FSA’s actions and means brokers can continue to cold-call if they take the leads from the data received from outside marketing or consulting firms.

Broker Steve Bradley, said: “I’ve received a number of cold-calls on my home number. The last one was at 8.45am Saturday – I thought it was an April fool. I was able to take some details from the caller before she put the phone down. The call was an international call, but they refused to say where they were from. There was no FSA required introduction, but she said she was phoning to see if she could make savings on my mortgage. This type of call, is not only illegal, it’s annoying.”

Timus Little, director at mmb finance, argued the banning of cold-calling played right into the hands of lead generation companies who were able to boost their fees. He said: “The cold-calling lead generation companies are hitting financially strapped brokers through the increased cost that generation companies are now able to charge for their services.”

Robin Gordon-Walker, spokesperson at the FSA, dismissed suggestions that brokers were able to ‘pick holes’ in regulation to carry on conducting cold-calls and he confirmed the FSA had guidelines for such practices. He said: “We set up guidance regarding the generation of leads and our ‘frequently asked questions’ on the website states what firms can and can’t do when using outside firms to gather information.”

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