View more on these topics

Pension watchdog slams merger plan

Outgoing pension ombudsman David Laverick has fired a parting shot at proposals to merge his office with the Financial Ombudsman Service.

Laverick completes his six-year term on August 31 and will be replaced by Tony King, who is an ombudsman at the FOS.

In Laverick’s last annual report, he says the Government’s acceptance of the Thornton review’s recommendation to bring together the PO and FOS is flawed. “I shall be glad not to be further involved in the matter,” he says.

Laverick adds: “There is much I admire in the FOS but the scale of its operations puts it outside my own concept of how an ombudsman should look.

“I shall watch with interest whether the Government is indeed prepared to allow disputes of fact and law relating to pension schemes to be dealt with according to the much less regulated procedures used by the FOS than has been the policy over the period when there has been a PO. “

The report reveals that the PO saw an 8 per cent increase in enquiries to 3,023 in the last tax year although the number accepted for investigation fell fell from 33 to 27 per cent.

Costs rose by a fifth from £2.1m to £2.5m in 2005/06, with staffing costs up from £1.7m to £2.1m.

The number of cases referred to the FSA or FOS almost halved from 8.12 per cent to 4.8 per cent.

Last year, the PO closed 1,133 investigations and opened 702 new investigations.

Of the closed investigations, 14.9 per cent related to scheme wind-ups, 13.9 per cent to pension transfers, 11.1 per cent to ill-health pensions, 9.8 per cent to the calculation of benefits, and 5.1 per cent to poor advice.


Fidelity looks to EMEA

Fidelity International has introduced a Luxemburg-based fund investing in emerging Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

Standard welcomes changes to IHT rules

Standard Life has welcomed the start of HM Revenue & Customs’ consultation on new rules to simplify inheritance tax reporting requirements. Following the Budget 2006 and the change to the IHT treatment of gifts to trusts, Standard says many more taxpayers have found themselves caught by regulations requiring them to file certain forms to report […]

Tranter fears NU’s critical-illness amnesty may backfire

Sesame product manager Dale Tranter says Norwich Union could be shooting itself in the foot by encouraging critical-illness policyholders to admit any non-disclosure on their applications.He says the action is well meant but it would only take an increase in one policyholder’s premium to taint the reputation of NU and the whole industry.Tranter says: “NU […]


News and expert analysis straight to your inbox

Sign up


    Leave a comment