Issues affecting all schemes
Pensions Ombudsman – dispute resolution and jurisdiction
The government has responded to its consultation on the Pensions Ombudsman's dispute resolution function and jurisdiction, confirming its plans to:
- Give the Ombudsman a new early dispute resolution function.
- Expand the range of circumstances in which employers can make a complaint or refer a dispute to the Ombudsman.
The government will lay changes to primary and secondary legislation to implement these plans in due course.
No action required.
Provision of incorrect information – reliance on information supplied
The Deputy Pensions Ombudsman has decided that, although a scheme administrator had told a member that he would receive a lump sum which he was not in fact entitled to receive, the member could not demonstrate that he had reasonably relied on this information, or that his reliance had caused him the loss he claimed. While the Deputy Ombudsman accepted that the amount of cash that the member had available generally was likely to have influenced his decision-making on spending, she could not see a direct causal link between what the member was told about the lump sum and what he chose to spend.
However, the Deputy Ombudsman considered that, given the long history of the member's complaint, an award of £2,000 for the distress and inconvenience caused by the scheme administrator's maladministration was justified, rather than the £850 offered by the scheme administrator. Mr T (PO-24307)
Trustees and administrators should ensure that enquiries are handled promptly and accurately, and that any errors in information provided are corrected as soon as possible.
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