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TPAS Annual Review Published

29 July 2011

TPAS publishes today its annual review of activities.  Developments in the pensions agenda continue apace resulting in a 12% increase in written queries coming to us.  With over 2 million visits to our website by people seeking information and guidance, a 57% increase on last year, it is clear that more and more people need our help, especially with automatic enrolment starting next year.

The number of complaint cases is down by 22%; we think that this largely due to improved investment conditions. But we are seeing a worrying trend in overpayment cases as the Pensions Regulator focuses Trustees attention on data quality and schemes become more diligent in maintaining and checking data. 

There were just over 63,000 calls to our Helpline, this was 13% fewer that last year but we think that more people are opting to contact us by email. 

The report covers the main areas of our work in 2010/11 highlighting typical issues dealt with by TPAS' staff and volunteers.

The most popular questions concerned the state pension system.  This perhaps highlights how for many people the state pension is confusing and complex.  We also dealt with a huge variety of questions about private pension arrangements.  Many people simply wanted to better understand their rights and entitlements but questions from people trying to find old pension plans and rights in relation to early payment on ill-health grounds were popular.

The number of complaints referred to TPAS fell, largely driven by a reduction in complaints about delays.  The main reasons for a complaint remain mistakes, delays and ill-health retirement applications.  The report includes a number of case studies. 

TPAS 'talks in the workplace' service was again popular with over 300 presentations given.  As we approach the implementation of automatic enrolment our activities are focusing on small and medium sized employers.

TPAS Chairman, Partha Dasgupta said ""The sheer volume of work we get through is a great achievement by the staff and volunteer advisers at TPAS at a time when we were subject to a large amount of change, both organisationally and as a result of broader public sector initiatives.  The cases and queries we have dealt with during the past year tells us that our service continues to be valued and we are looking forward to playing our part in the pension reform agenda, particularly automatic enrolment and state pension reforms.  I would like to thank our volunteers for their continuing commitment, without whom we would not be able to help as many people as we do."

Marta Phillips, TPAS Chief Executive said "We received fewer complaint cases which reflects well on schemes and administrators, but some of this may be due to the improvement in investment conditions.  This Report indicates that people are less worried about delays but that pension overpayments are of concern.  We are starting to see some concern about automatic enrolment indicating that we all have work to do to help people affected understand the issues."

Copies of the report can be downloaded by clicking here 

Note for Editors

  1. TPAS is an independent body supported by the Government which exists to provide information and guidance to the public on pension matters generally.  Our service is free and sustained by a nationwide network of volunteer advisers.
  2. TPAS provides a national pensions helpline 0845 601 2923 which is open 9.00 a.m. to 5.00 p.m. Monday to Friday.
  3. Our website covers all aspects of pensions in the UK: www.pensionsadvisoryservice.org.uk
  4. TPAS acts as an impartial mediator in pension disputes involving occupational, personal and stakeholder pensions.  It has not statutory powers and does not provide investment advice.
  5. TPAS 'talks in the workplace' service presents to groups of employees in the workplace, about saving for retirement via a pension plan and the issues to be taken account of.
  6. TPAS provides a range of leaflets on different aspects of pension.  Details can be found on the website.
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