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
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
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
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
- 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.
- TPAS provides a national pensions helpline 0845 601 2923 which
is open 9.00 a.m. to 5.00 p.m. Monday to Friday.
- Our website covers all aspects of pensions in the UK: www.pensionsadvisoryservice.org.uk
- 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
- 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.
- TPAS provides a range of leaflets on different aspects of
pension. Details can be found on the website.