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Ombudsman to boost legal role after Royal London scam case


The Pensions Ombudsman is to take a bigger role in pensions disputes that reach the courts,  including pension liberation and auto-enrolment, after a controversial decision on a pension transfer.

Currently the ombudsman can be party to an appeal though it is does not have a right to.

But Ombudsman Anthony Arter wants to take a more active role following the High Court’s decision to overturn an ombudsman ruling involving Royal London earlier this year.

The High Court said Donnie-Marie Hughes did have the right to transfer £8,000 to a SSAS Royal London suspected of being a scam.

Lawyers warned the decision could open the floodgates to transfers being held up by providers worried about where the funds would end up.

Now the Ombudsman says: “Our practice of looking to intervene will now be extended beyond participating in an appeal which raises questions affecting our legal jurisdiction or internal procedures. Our participation will be more pro-active and will be considered against the backdrop of seeking to assist the court.

“Examples of increased participation may include where the decision could have a wider impact on the pensions industry, such as pension liberation or auto-enrolment.”

Pensions Ombudsman legal director Claire Ryan says: “Widening the circumstances where the Ombudsman may look to intervene in appeals of determinations was carefully considered and is supported by the Department for Work and Pensions.

“We believe that the pensions industry and parties to complaints will welcome the change.”

AJ Bell senior analyst Tom Selby says: “The decision by the Ombudsman to take a more proactive role in appeals against decisions which risk undermining pensions, including those involving scams and automatic enrolment, is welcome. The fact the DWP supports this move is hopefully a signal the Government itself will now start to take the issue of pension scams seriously too.

“However, we still believe much more can be done, starting by revisiting the case for banning pensions cold calling.”


Anthony Arter

Ombudsman backs Royal London over missing £113k pension

The Pensions Ombudsman has rejected a complaint made against Royal London after a customer lost a pension worth £112,542 he transferred away from the firm. Mr. T said the provider was to blame for letting him transfer his pension to the Capita Oak Scheme in 2012. He is now unable to locate his fund and […]

Jamie Clark Scottish Life 2012

Royal London calls on TPR to expand approved auto-enrol list

Royal London is calling on The Pensions Regulator to loosen the criteria for entries to its new list of group personal pension schemes for automatic enrolment. Last month TPR announced it would publish a list of GPP providers who are open to all employers “regardless of projected membership numbers or contribution levels”. Aviva, Standard Life […]


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There are 5 comments at the moment, we would love to hear your opinion too.

  1. Your headline is defamatory as it implies that Ms Hughes and anyone who disagrees with companies like Royal London or in my case Scottish Widows is a scam artist. I had Scottish Widows block an £8k transfer to a SSAS from a paid up PPP for 6 months whilst they hid behind all manner of excuses including twisting the decision in the Hughes case. Finally they accepted they must transfer. I suggest you change your title or Ms Hughes may be taking you to court as well as Royal London or the judge may treat your headline as a contempt of court.
    Where IS the scam? The scam is dinosaur life companies who advertise all over the place.

  2. If you want to see both sides rather than those paid to put one side of the argument, then go to

  3. If only Royal London had done a little research all this could have been avoided

  4. @Sam Brodbeck – This was a comment from well respected Henry Tapper of Pension’s Playpen about your headline mate ….

    “Ms Hughes has commented on this blog (Pension Playpen) to the effect that she is neither a scammer or scammed. Whatever you think of her choice, she has the right to make it. It is to our great discredit if we pillory someone for what they do with their own money (provided that what they do is within the law)”

    Would you care to respond Sam or do you stand by your headline?

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