View more on these topics

FOS hit with 300 pension transfer complaints since freedoms

The Financial Ombudsman Service has revealed it received 300 complaints relating to defined benefit to defined contribution pension transfers since 2015.

However, this currently makes up 2 per cent of all pension complaints between April 2015 and March 2018, when the FOS received a total of just under 15,000 complaints on pensions and 1,700 complaints about pension freedoms.

Around 30 per cent of complaints were upheld in each of the three years.

Although making up only 2 per cent of complaints, FOS describes pension transfers as a “major concern”. While FOS says it cannot fix the remedy this by providing tick-box compliance, it did say it takes the following into account in each pension transfer case:

  • if the adviser really “knows their customer” and all the relevant circumstances
  • if they understood what their customer was trying to achieve
  • if there were any other ways they could have helped their customer get what they want from retirement
The service provided a further breakdown of what transfer complaints were about:
Total Cases
Uphold rate
Advice not to transfer
Charges for advice
Decline to advise
Delay in advice
Investment loss due to delay
Suitability – general
Suitability – UCIS/QROPS
FOS chief ombudsman and chief executive Caroline Wayman says: “Most financial advisers I meet – and indeed most financial advisers – haven’t ever had a complaint. As long as advisers continue to treat their customers fairly, it’s likely to stay that way.
“As ever, the challenge for advisers isn’t just to know the rules, but to apply them to real lives – understanding where people are coming from, their hopes for the future, and what really matters to them. We’ll continue to share our insights from the complaints which we see.”


File image of a pension savings pot

British Steel IFA compensation payouts top £500k

IFA Active Wealth, which found itself at the heart of the British Steel Pension Scheme saga, has cost the Financial Services Compensation Scheme more than half a million pounds so far, Money Marketing has learned. Data provided to Money Marketing about the firm that was declared insolvent in February shows the lifeboat fund has awarded […]


Budget 2018: Govt tightens entrepreneurs relief rules

Chancellor Philip Hammond has decided not to scrap entrepreneurs relief, but has made conditions for qualifying stricter. To ensure it is going to genuine entrepreneurs, the government will extend the minimum qualifying period from 12 months to two years. However, Hammond said he wanted the UK to be a leading global player in global technology, so […]

Why your clients’ retirement income needs are becoming increasingly complex

By Iain Petrie, Senior Manager – Retirement Propositions, Scottish Widows Our recent article on the different theories on the shape of income in retirement introduced “The Retirement Wave”. Unlike other theories, the “Wave” shows how the change from work to retirement is increasingly not a single, one-way event. It’s becoming a much more flexible journey, […]


News and expert analysis straight to your inbox

Sign up


There are 7 comments at the moment, we would love to hear your opinion too.

  1. These figures would suggest six cases where FOS felt that a transfer should go ahead, and one case where the adviser had no right to decline to advise. The latter is of concern as recently a ruling confirmed that firms could operate as they see fit and not give advice to or transact with those that they did not wish to do business with.

    Reading between the lines it is possible that the advisers involved had not fully understood the client’s needs and objectives before recommending not to transfer, which would justify the FOS position.

    Without knowing the facts of the cases I would not like to judge, but if any of these were insistent clients these rulings would put us between a rock and a hard place. The positive news is that it is a small number to date, but I am sure that there are many out there being encouraged to follow suit.

  2. It would be interesting to know the bases on which the provision of advice was declined and on which the customer felt s/he had grounds to complain. Surely, no FA is obliged to provide advice to anyone and, should he smell trouble, he’s probably wise to decline.

    At this rate, we’ll start seeing complaints against advisers for refusing to facilitate a transaction on an insistent client basis. For the avoidance of any misunderstanding, it may be prudent to make absolutely clear in our IDD’s that we reserve the right, at our absolute discretion, to decline providing advice to any client and that we do not under any circumstances undertake business on an IC basis. What is the world coming to?

    • You should read Ombudsman News before passing judgement.

      The case you refer to was upheld because the client had a 3 month deadline and it took the adviser 2 1/2 months to tell the client they couldnt deal with the case.

      The client only had 2 weeks left and therefore lost the enhancement.

      • We need to get better a turning people away at the first and earliest opportunity when our instincts tell us so. Not easy when people are baying for their cash but needs must.

  3. This will be the tip of a very big iceberg once the markets drop significantly. (After Brexit?)

    • Ah, Harry, your post reminds me of the apocryphal headline in The Times – “Fog in Channel, Continent Cut Off”. The fortunes (or not) are affected by many more factors than just Brexit – US v China springs to mind!

      • True, but the main point of the post I think might hold true. If there is a significant drop in markets (for whatever reason) then I believe ‘freedom’ complaints will escalate exponentially.

        But I also still think that a poor Brexit will be a catastrophe.

Leave a comment


Why register with Money Marketing ?

Providing trusted insight for professional advisers.  Since 1985 Money Marketing has helped promote and analyse the financial adviser community in the UK and continues to be the trusted industry brand for independent insight and advice.

News & analysis delivered directly to your inbox
Register today to receive our range of news alerts including daily and weekly briefings

Money Marketing Events
Be the first to hear about our industry leading conferences, awards, roundtables and more.

Research and insight
Take part in and see the results of Money Marketing's flagship investigations into industry trends.

Have your say
Only registered users can post comments. As the voice of the adviser community, our content generates robust debate. Sign up today and make your voice heard.

Register now

Having problems?

Contact us on +44 (0)20 7292 3712

Lines are open Monday to Friday 9:00am -5.00pm