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NPI under fire as signature dispute holds up divorcee’s pension transfer

NPI has been criticised for refusing to transfer pension assets to a divorcee without the signature of the former husband.

In 2005, the client’s IFA, CBK, requested a pensionsharing order to transfer three of the ex-husband’s policies with NPI, Norwich Union and Clerical Medical.

The client obtained a court consent order from Colchester County Court in March 2006, followed by a decree absolute in May 2006, giving her the rights to the three policies.

Clerical Medical and Norwich Union also initially demanded a signature from the ex-husband but then waived the request in light of the decree absolute and processed the transaction in August.

But NPI is still refusing to process the transaction without a signature from the husband, who consistently refuses to cooperate. NPI says it requires the authority of the policyholder to discharge its liability unless the court order specifically gives the spouse power to discharge liability from NPI.

A spokeswoman says: “If other companies are prepared to accept the risk to discharge liability without obtaining the policyholder’s consent, then this is a risk that they are willing to accept. NPI is not prepared to do so under our current procedures.”

CBK principal Peter Chadborn says: “If it had told us this months ago, we could have resolved this. This is more than just poor service. NU and Clerical Medical have acted in good faith and in a timely manner.”

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