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Pension liberation complaints to Ombudsman service fall

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Pension liberation complaints to The Pensions Ombudsman dropped significantly last year.

In 2015/16 pension liberation – where companies fraudulently promise tax free access to pension cash before age 55 by transferring into a new scheme – was the most common type of complaint to TPO, accounting for 16 per cent of all new cases.

This fell to 8 per cent this year, according to TPO’s latest figures.

Overall, however, TPO handled 22 per cent more enquiries, with over 6,000 new cases coming in.

High Court overturns Ombudsman in landmark pension liberation ruling

Pensions Ombudsman Anthony Arter said this increase could be down to “the increasing awareness of the value of pensions and the difficulty in understanding whether the rules, and/or legislation, has been applied correctly.”

TPO saw a slight increase in transfer related complaints, including cases involving calculation or payment of transfer values.

TPO is currently attempting to resolve more cases informally at an early stage, with adjudicators settling around 70 per cent without escalating matters.

This has led to an increase in the proportion or investigations completed with six months from a quarter to 40 per cent.

A third of cases that made it to an ombudsman decision were either upheld or partly upheld.

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  1. One would presume that the legitimate access of pension capital post 55 years of age (i.e. under the pension freedoms legislation) had an important part to play in this – removing the perception that pensions were tied up for the rest of the investors life and the only solution was to use a liberation approach to access that capital.

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