FOS and Pensions Ombudsman at odds over new Sipp complaints deal


The Financial Ombudsman Service and The Pensions Ombudsman are at odds over the status of a new agreement on how to deal with Sipp claims.

After a year of discussions, the two complaints adjudicators have sent conflicting messages over whether or not a new charter would be drawn up to clarify which pension complaints each governs.

In September 2015, the FOS and TPO said they were holding talks to avoid conflicting rulings and overlapping responsibilities over certain pension complaints in the future.

The FOS’ treatment of Sipp provider Berkeley Burke – which it ruled to be responsible for investors’ losses from unregulated collective investment schemes – appeared to contradict earlier POS rulings and sparked discussions over the memorandum of understanding between the two ombudsman services.

The memorandum sets out how the two organisations work together.

The FOS will normally investigate complaints over pensions, including the suitability of pensions advice, but TPO can handle complaints over how individual pension arrangements, such as Sipps, are administered.

When asked if discussions were still ongoing or if the memorandum had been updated, a FOS spokesman told Money Marketing: “We are not actively reviewing the memorandum. We meet with TPO regularly and discuss a variety of things but we are not actively reviewing the memorandum at the moment.

“As you’d expect we talk to TPO regularly and about a variety of topics, which will naturally include our working arrangements and the MoU, but we wouldn’t recognise that as us being in active discussion about reviewing the MoU specifically – any more than any of other issues we discuss.”

The spokesman added: “We have a good working relationship given the crossover of cases.”

However, when asked the same question, a POS spokesman said the ombudsman was “still in discussions with FOS in connection with the MoU.”