Simon Read: We must crack down on rogue finance ads


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The Independent Online

The Advertising Standards Authority this week banned an advertisement from a pension liberation firm. The reason was simple: the claims in the ad were nonsense.

Pension liberation firms try to persuade people to transfer their retirement savings to an arrangement that allows them to get at their money before the standard retirement age of 55.

But those who use the "legal loophole" end up worse off, potentially by tens of thousands of pounds. The now banned ad suggested: "You can claim up to 20 per cent of your pension value at ANY AGE with ZERO impact on your retirement nest-egg".

The ASA ruled the claims could not be substantiated. It's not the first time the authority has ruled against a pension liberation company. In April it told a firm to stop sending texts offering to "release [a] large cash sum" from a "trapped or frozen pension".

Meanwhile HM Revenue & Customs is set to take action against a large number of "dubious" pension liberation schemes, which could see many shut down. But that won't stop the seemingly ever-growing spam texts and misleading ads from a range of finance firms, which simply want to boost their profits at the expense of confused and hoodwinked consumers.

Most of these rogue ads should never see the light of day. Any firms breaking the rules with misleading marketing should have all their advertising banned unless they can prove responsibility. Cut off their route to trick people, and you cut off their questionable businesses.

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