The Pensions Ombudsman—when should he be used and what are his powers?
Produced in partnership with Oliver Hilton of Radcliffe Chambers and David Gallagher of Fieldfisher
The Pensions Ombudsman—when should he be used and what are his powers?

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

  • The Pensions Ombudsman—when should he be used and what are his powers?
  • The office of the Pensions Ombudsman
  • Powers of the Pensions Ombudsman
  • Before a complaint can be made
  • What complaints can be made to the Pensions Ombudsman?
  • Meaning of ‘maladministration’
  • Who can claim?
  • What complaints cannot be investigated by the Pensions Ombudsman?
  • Limits to the Pensions Ombudsman’s powers concerning overpayments
  • Areas of overlap with the Financial Ombudsman Service
  • more

This Practice Note looks at the jurisdiction of the Pensions Ombudsman to deal with occupational and personal pension-related complaints and disputes under its adjudication service, including:

  1. who can make or refer complaints/disputes

  2. the types of complaints/disputes that can and cannot be determined

  3. the powers he may exercise in doing so, and

  4. applicable time limits

Note that 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 an early resolution service in addition to its normal adjudication service. For more information on the early resolution service (which falls outside the scope of this Practice Note), see Practice Note: Making a complaint to the Pensions Ombudsman—what is involved? — Early resolution service.

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

The office of the Pensions Ombudsman

There are a number of different bodies with jurisdiction over pension matters and disputes. One is the office of the Pensions Ombudsman.

The Pensions Ombudsman in essence offers a free, impartial dispute resolution service open to the public to deal with complaints against those responsible for running or administering occupational or personal pension schemes. In limited circumstances, he can also deal with disputes between trustees, employers and administrators. As Robert Walker