View more on these topics

Ombudsman sees sharp rise in liberation and Sipp complaints

Anthony Arter

The Pensions Ombudsman received over 200 complaints concerning pension liberation in 2015/16, up from 180 on the previous year.

Cases relating to pension liberation – where savers attempt to access their pot before the age of 55 – account for 20 per cent of all cases, according to the Ombudsman’s annual report.

In addition, enquiries were up 18 per cent, to around 5,000, and there was a 6 per cent increase in the number of investigations, to 1,363.

Around 40 per cent of cases decided by the Ombudsman were partly or wholly upheld.

Personal pensions as a total of all complaints increased from 25 per cent of cases, to 46 per cent, largely driven by Sipps.

The Ombudsman, which handled complaints against providers not advisers, has a 50-strong staff and a budget of £3.4m.

Ombudsman Anthony Arter says: “There has been a marked increase in the number of pension complaints coming to our office. This is particularly so in respect of personal pensions where in the financial year 2014/15 they accounted for 25 per cent of our completed investigations. This has increased now to 46 per cent with the largest increase being Sipps.

“Our priority in the past year was to find ways to deal with complaints more efficiently while at the same time simplifying the wider customer journey.  Changes to our internal processes and a focus on dialogue and early resolution are helping us to deliver this.  It has resulted in a dramatic increase to 63 per cent in the number of cases resolved informally.”

“It is vital to have clear signposting and a simple pathway to a more straightforward resolution of all pension complaints in order for the public and pensions industry to have confidence in a fair and impartial outcome.”


Anthony Arter

Pensions Ombudsman revamps decision publications

The Pensions Ombudsman Service has expanded the range of information it publishes and has begun anonymising its determinations. As Money Marketing revealed in April, the Ombudsman will now publish opinion issued by its adjudicators as well as formal decisions. Opinions will be published if they are appealed to the ombudsman or deputy ombudsman and are […]


High Court overturns Ombudsman in landmark pension liberation ruling

A landmark High Court ruling against Royal London has put pensions savers at increased risk of pension liberation scams, lawyers warn. In a judgement today, the High Court overturned a Pensions Ombudsman decision that sided with Royal London over a suspicious £8,000 transfer to a SSAS in 2014. The ruling comes after Donna-Marie Hughes appealed […]

Graphic content – December; the countries most exposed to a rise in protectionism

President-elect Trump has suggested withdrawing from the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and ending negotiations over the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), albeit there is considerable uncertainty over what he will, or even can, do. If one of the main consequences of the election of Donald Trump is US protectionism, it’s worth considering who stands to […]


News and expert analysis straight to your inbox

Sign up


There are 2 comments at the moment, we would love to hear your opinion too.

  1. Complaints about SIPPs or complaints about some investments (UCIS) in SIPPs?

  2. Barney Cooper 7th July 2016 at 7:45 pm

    Very surprising that the increase in complaints about pensions has not been higher. There are a lot of spivs out there trying to get their hands on the hard earned pension pots of innocent pensioners.

Leave a comment