Ombudsman backs Prudential in £18k pension liberation case

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A complaint made against Prudential after it allowed a customer to transfer to a suspected pension liberation scheme has been rejected.

The Pensions Ombudsman ruled against the complainant, Mr Johnston, who said the provider did not carry out sufficient checks and should reimburse him after his £18,000 pot went missing.

In 2012 Johnston requested a transfer out of Prudential and into the Capita Oak Pension plan – a scheme that has been the subject of previous Ombudsman decisions.

Prudential processed the £18,643 transfer after checking Capita Oak was registered as an occupational scheme.

However after receiving an opening statement, Johnston has not been able to get further information on his fund from Capita Oak, or the administrator Imperial Trustee Services.

Pensions ombudsman Anthony Arter says there is “little doubt” it was against the member’s interest in transferring but says even if Prudential had blocked the move it could not have overriden his right to transfer.

He says: “Given the current publicity both concerning pension liberation generally and certain schemes in particular, it is natural that Mr Johnston feels upset about what has happened in his case.

“But I cannot apply current levels of knowledge and understanding of pension liberation/scams or present standards of practice to a past situation.”

In April this year, the Ombudsman ruled against Prudential when it held up a transfer to a scheme it suspected of being a scam.

Also in April, the Ombudsman backed Scottish Widows and L&G who were accused by a member of allowing him to transfer to Capita Oak and lose around £50,000.

In December 2014, the Ombudsman ordered Capita Oak to return funds to an individual known as Mr. X but warned the money may have already “disappeared”.