Cold-calling enforcement power questioned

Despite FSA rulings that the practice is banned under its regulatory regime, a broker, who wishes to remain anonymous, has contacted the regulator on three occasions but has yet to see any action taken after a five-month period.

Following the first incident of cold-calling, the broker contacted the FSA with the name, address and IDD number of the mortgage-selling cold-caller. The FSA responded with a letter of acknowledgement about the complaint. However, two more incidents have occurred over past five months, with the details of each case being sent to the regulator.

The broker said: “I get the impression that the FSA does not know how to handle the rules it has enforced. Five months after making the initial complaint, I have still not been notified of any action that has been taken and have received two more cold-calls. I want the FSA to let me know how – and if – it has handled the complaint.”

The FSA has confirmed that cold-calling remains a banned practice, but said it does not report on any investigations it carries out. Robin Gordon-Walker, spokesperson for the FSA, said: “The FSA does not make an announcement until there is actually something to report. We have a number of complaints and it may take some time before these are processed. There is a gradation process, which starts with a supervisory warning. In more aggravated cases, where the regulatory rules are being ignored, then a fine will be levied.”

However, the broker involved has questioned the power of the regulator in enforcing its rules. He said: “The FSA should either take action against it or actually say that cold-calling is no longer illegal. It is not showing any commitment to enforcing this rule and I think it is because it is not legally enforceable.”