The proposed cold-calling ban may be ineffective if a collaborative regulatory approach between the UK and the European Union (EU) is not maintained post-Brexit, the Pensions Management Institute (PMI) has warned.
It is already difficult for the government to tackle suspected scammers based overseas, with schemes easily able to register with HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC), and so the regulatory relationship should not be damaged.
While "satisfied" with the principles of the ban, the institute said scammers could just up sticks and base themselves in the EU where UK-based regulators will not be able to apply the ban. If this happens, it is important that a cooperative regulatory approach continues.
"Unfortunately, nothing can prevent scammers developing workarounds," it wrote. "The first and foremost concern is that scammers could base themselves outside the UK and so be beyond the scope of British jurisdiction.
"It may perhaps be premature to consider a post-Brexit regulatory culture, but with the UK outside the EU, existing structures for regulatory co-operation would be compromised if not lost altogether."
In a separate response, the Pensions and Lifetime Savings Association (PLSA) called on HMRC to adopt more stringent checks on overseas pension schemes and liaise more with EU regulators.
It reiterated calls for an authorisation regime for all pension schemes, targeting, at first, the smallest and therefore "riskier" schemes, while recognising such a regime, and the cold-call ban, would not be able to touch overseas schemes by nature.
PLSA policy lead for engagement, EU and regulation James Walsh said a "more ambitious approach" was needed to "fully protect savers".
"We are calling for the government to gradually introduce an authorisation regime for pension schemes," he said. "The most pressing problem area at present is small schemes, so that is where we would start, but in the long term we would expect all schemes who want to accept transfers be authorised."
The Pension Scams Industry Group in June published an updated voluntary code of practice to aid trustees in combatting suspected pension scams, detailing how they should approach transfer requests from members and gives examples of the tactics often deployed.
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