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The Pensions Ombudsman

The role of the Pensions Ombudsman

The Pensions Ombudsman investigates and decides complaints about the way pension schemes are run. The Ombudsman is an individual, appointed by the Government, to independently review and judge cases. The Government may also appoint a Deputy Pensions Ombudsman who has the same powers as the Ombudsman. 

You can ask the Ombudsman to consider a complaint if you are:

  • a member of a workplace pension scheme or personal pension;
  • the spouse or dependant of a member who has died;
  • claiming to be a member or the spouse or dependant of a member;
  • entitled to pension credits following your divorce from a member;
  • the personal representative of any of the above. 

Your complaint must relate to membership of a workplace pension scheme or personal or stakeholder pension. It must be against any of the following:

  • all or any of the scheme trustees, past or present;
  • the scheme manager (which could refer to a company that runs a public sector scheme or the provider of a personal or stakeholder pension);
  • the employer (but only in relation to the pension scheme);
  • the administrator of the scheme.

The Ombudsman cannot deal with your complaint if it:

  • relates to the selling of a personal or stakeholder pension
  • relates to the state pension and other state benefits
  • is subject to court proceedings
  • is subject to regulation by the Pensions Regulator;
  • is being, or has been, investigated by another ombudsman. 

Making a complaint to the Pensions Ombudsman

Normally you should have asked us to try and help you resolve your complaint before you make a complaint to the Ombudsman.  Whatever our opinion, you are still free to take your case to the Ombudsman. You must present your complaint to the Ombudsman using an official complaint form which you can get from the Ombudsman's website. If your complaint is against the trustees of a workplace pension scheme or its scheme manager, the Ombudsman will only accept your complaint form and investigate your complaint if you have first gone through your scheme's independent dispute resolution procedure (IDRP)

Click here for more information about the IDRP

Normally you must make your complaint to the Ombudsman within three years of the event you are complaining about. The time limit can be extended by the Ombudsman if there is a good reason why you were unable to make your complaint to the Ombudsman within the usual time limit - for example you went through your scheme's IDRP and that delayed you in making your complaint to the Ombudsman. 

You can find out more about the Ombudsman and how to make a complaint by visiting

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