This page describes how other organisations can help you if you have a complaint about your pension.
The Pensions Ombudsman is an independent organisation set up by law. They can help if you have a complaint or dispute about a pension scheme provided by your employer or a pension you have set up yourself.
They can also help if you have a complaint about a decision made by the Pension Protection Fund or the Financial Assistance Scheme.
They look at the facts without taking sides and their service is free. To find out more, visit www.pensions-ombudsman.org.uk.
Financial Ombudsman Service
The Financial Ombudsman Service investigates complaints about the sale or marketing of individual pension arrangements. If you’re unhappy about the advice you were given about a pension plan, you should first give the firm who advised you the chance to resolve matters. The firm will have eight weeks to sort out your complaint with you. If after eight weeks you’re still not happy, you can ask the Financial Ombudsman Service to get involved.
They can also look into complaints about most financial problems involving banking, insurance, mortgages, investments and savings, to name a few. To find out more, visit www.financial-ombudsman.org.uk.
The Pensions Regulator
The Pensions Regulator is a Government body, responsible for regulating work-based pension schemes in the UK. It’s main aim is promoting and improving understanding of the good administration of work-based pension schemes, in order to protect member benefits. But they are unable to help with disputes between individuals and their pension schemes.
To find out more about The Pensions Regulator and the work they do, visit www.thepensionsregulator.gov.uk.
If you suspect someone is breaching the law in relation to your work-based pension, there are a number of different organisations who may be able to help. Call our helpline on 0800 011 3797 for guidance you on where you should raise your concerns.
Information is also available on The Pensions Regulator’s website at www.thepensionsregulator.gov.uk.
Transferring a defined benefit pension: Making a complaint about financial advice you received
Transfers out of workplace defined benefit schemes are complicated and it’s vital that you’re confident that you have received good advice. If you have any concerns - no matter how insignificant you feel they might be - you should read this information.
The financial regulator, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), has found that many people that transferred out of defined benefit schemes received unsuitable financial advice. If you received unsuitable advice to transfer, you could be entitled to compensation.
A defined benefit scheme provides valuable guarantees. There may be circumstances in which it is suitable to transfer. The FCA’s guidance to advisers is that they should start all reviews of a potential transfer with the assumption that a transfer is not in the customer’s best interests.
You should consider whether your advice was suitable or not based on your needs. Use the FCA’s Advice Checker to understand whether the advice you received was right for you.
If you are unhappy with any aspect of the financial advice you received about transferring, you should consider making a formal complaint.
If you believe you received unsuitable advice, the first step is to complain to the firm that gave you the advice. A regulated financial firm must respond to your complaint in writing within 8 weeks, telling you whether the complaint has been successful or why they need more time to look into it. At this point if you are unhappy with the response, or you haven’t received one, you can refer your complaint to the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS).
Using a regulated financial adviser gives you access to FOS. This service is independent and free to use. It can make awards for compensation where something has gone wrong. The process for making a complaint is easy to do but, if you need help, FOS will be able to talk you through it by calling 0800 023 4567.
If your financial adviser is no longer in business, you can make a claim to the Financial Services Compensation Scheme, which is also free to use.
You do not need to use a claims management company (CMC) or a solicitor to make a complaint. If you do you will have to share any compensation you get with them.
If you need help, you can also contact us to discuss your situation. Based upon what you tell us, we will always try to help you get the answers you need or identify the people you need to speak to.
State Pension: complaints
We cannot help if you have a complaint about your State Pension. If you’re unhappy about the service you have received, first contact the office you were dealing with and explain why you are unhappy. Their contact details should be on the letters you have received. If you’re unhappy with their response you can complain to the Director General of Operations for the Department for Work and Pensions.
For more information visit www.gov.uk/complain-pension-service
Where can I find out more?
If you need more information, please contact us. A pension specialist from our team will be happy to help with whatever pensions-related question you have. Our help is always free.