Making a complaint to the Pensions Ombudsman—what is involved?
Produced in partnership with Oliver Hilton of Radcliffe Chambers and David Gallagher of Fieldfisher

The following Family practice note produced in partnership with Oliver Hilton of Radcliffe Chambers and David Gallagher of Fieldfisher provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Making a complaint to the Pensions Ombudsman—what is involved?
  • Legal framework for making complaints to the Pensions Ombudsman
  • Before a complaint can be made
  • What complaints can be made to the Pensions Ombudsman?
  • Eligible complainants
  • The complainant's application
  • The initial sifting exercise
  • The respondent's reply
  • The investigation
  • Generally
  • More...

Making a complaint to the Pensions Ombudsman—what is involved?

As a result of the transfer of The Pensions Advisory Service (TPAS)’s dispute resolution service to the Pensions Ombudsman on 19 March 2018, the Pensions Ombudsman offers two types of dispute resolution service since that date:

  1. its normal adjudication service, and

  2. an informal early resolution service (for more information on which, see Early resolution service, below)

Unless stated otherwise, this Practice Note focuses on the adjudication service of the Pensions Ombudsman. More specifically, it looks at the process involved before, during and after a complaint to the Pensions Ombudsman under its adjudication service and an investigation by the Pensions Ombudsman.

For a list of key Pensions Ombudsman determinations we have reported on, see Practice Note: Pensions Ombudsman determination tracker.

Legal framework for making complaints to the Pensions Ombudsman

As a creature of statute, the office of the Pensions Ombudsman is created and governed by sections 145 to 152 of the Pension Schemes Act 1993 (PSA 1993) (as amended). The relevant statutory instruments are:

  1. the Personal and Occupational Pension Schemes (Pensions Ombudsman) Regulations 1996, SI 1996/2475, and

  2. the Personal and Occupational Pension Schemes (Pensions Ombudsman) (Procedure) Regulations 1995, SI 1995/1053

The Pensions Ombudsman’s website also contains useful information and links to relevant governance and guidance documentation, including crucially the process of a complaint or referral of a dispute and appropriate forms.

Before a

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