November 19, 2009
The Pensions Ombudsman investigates complaints and disputes about the way pension schemes are run.
Complaints about the sales and marketing of pension schemes are dealt with by the Financial Ombudsman Service.
Concerns about the state pension are dealt with by the Pension Service.
The Pensions Ombudsman (PO)
If you have a complaint about the management of a pension, it is likely that the PO will be able to investigate. If, when you have read the following information, you are unsure about whether you can complain to the PO, feel free to contact them.
They investigate complaints about:
- occupational pension schemes (which are linked to someone’s employment);
- individual pension arrangements, such as personal pensions.
Can the PO consider your complaint?
They should be able to investigate your complaint if:
You are a:
- current or former member of a pension scheme;
- spouse or dependant of a deceased member or former member of a pension scheme;
- person with a pension credit in respect of a current or former member of a pension scheme;
- person appointed to act on behalf of the estate of someone who was a member or beneficiary of a pension scheme who has died.
And your complaint is against:
- the current or former trustees of a pension scheme;
- a manager of an occupational or personal pension scheme (such as an insurance company);
- a public sector body (those who run statutory schemes);
- an administrator of a pension scheme (although there are exceptions);
- an employer who provides a pension scheme (and the complaint is about the pension scheme).
If you are an employer, a trustee or a manager of a pension scheme and you want to complain in that capacity, then the PO can look at the following:
- a complaint brought by the trustees or managers of a pension scheme against the trustees or managers of a different pension scheme;
- a complaint brought by the trustee or manager of a pension scheme against a participating employer of a pension scheme;
- a dispute brought by the trustees of a pension scheme against the trustees of the same scheme (as long as the dispute is brought by at least half of the trustees);.
- a complaint brought by an independent trustee appointed by The Pensions Regulator against the trustees of the same scheme;
- a question brought by a sole trustee concerning its functions;
- a complaint brought by the employer of a pension scheme against the trustee or manager of the same scheme.
The PO cannot investigate:
- Complaints about state benefits, for example the state pension.
- Complaints about how a pension arrangement was sold. These are normally dealt with by the Financial Ombudsman Service.
- Complaints that have been taken to Court if the proceedings have not been discontinued.
- Complaints that have been investigated by another Ombudsman.
- Complaints where those involved have not first been asked to deal with the matter. For further information, please see the guidance notes.
- Complaints against any party other than the employer, the trustee, the manager or the administrator of a pension scheme.
- Complaints brought to us more than three years after the events complained about, or the person’s awareness of them if that is later. It is therefore important that a complaint is brought as soon as all the necessary steps have been taken.
Contact the PO:
11 Belgrave Road, London, SW1V 1RB.
Tel: 020 7630 2200 Fax: 020 7821 0065 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS)
The FOS believes that the you think is responsible for a problem should have the chance to look into any complaint before the ombudsman steps in and decides who is right or wrong.
But if you don’t know who to complain to at the business, or you’re unsure about anything, get in touch with them. They will contact the right person for you, telling them that you have a complaint they need to look into.
- call them on their consumer helpline on 0845 080 1800 or 0300 123 9 123
- Here are some hints on the best ways of making sure your complaint is taken seriously.
making a complaint – what to do next
If you’re not happy with how the business deals with your complaint, the FOS may be able to help.
If you’d like them to look into your complaint, they will need you to fill in their complaint form. We can help you fill in the form over the phone (call on 0845 080 1800 or 0300 123 9 123). Or you can download the form below.
When you have completed the complaint form – please send it back to them by post. Your handwritten signature is important to show them that you understand and agree to the declaration at the end of the form. You will also probably have other documents that you need to post to them with your completed form.
Their complaint form
- print-off the form and fill it in by hand or
- complete the form on screen before you print it off and post it to the FOS with your handwritten signature (along with copies of any documents relevant to your complaint). You may want to print-off a copy for your own records, in case this on-screen version doesn’t save to your computer.
The State Pension
The Pensions Advisory Service is happy to answer general questions about the State Pension (call 0845 601 2923). However, they are unable to assist individuals resolve their State Pension problems.
If you think that your benefits have been calculated incorrectly or you are unhappy with the service you have received from the Pension Service (the authority that administers the State Pension), you should make a complaint by calling the Pension Service on 0845 606 0265. Alternatively, you can write to your local Pension Service office. You can get the address of your local office by calling 0845 606 0265 or by clicking here for the Contact Us section of the Pension Service’s website.
The Pension Service will aim to respond to your concerns within seven working days.
If you are still not happy, you should send a formal letter of complaint to the pension centre manager at your local Pension Service office.
If you are still not happy, you should write to the Chief Executive of the Pension Service, Terry Moran, at:
The Pension Service
PO Box 50101
Ultimately, if the Pension Service has been unable to resolve your dispute and you want to take further action, you should contact Mark. He may be able to help you submit a formal complaint to the Parliamentary Ombudsman. The Parliamentary Ombudsman deals with complaints from members of the public that they have suffered injustice because of maladministration by government departments or certain other public bodies.