Pensions Ombudsman round-up: May 2016

Pensions Alert (UK)

Welcome to the latest edition of DLA Piper's Pensions Ombudsman Round-Up newsletter in which we report on some recent determinations made by the Pensions Ombudsman (PO) and Deputy Pensions Ombudsman (DPO), and provide statistics on the outcomes of complaints and the range of awards made for distress and inconvenience.

The first and second cases concern the provision of incorrect information, although the outcomes of the complaints were different.  The first case demonstrates how costly the provision of incorrect information can be if the member has changed his position in reliance on the information.  Whilst in the second case the PO did not think that the member would have acted differently had the correct information been provided, an award of £1,000 was made for distress and inconvenience and the PO noted the factors which were taken into account in setting compensation at this level.

The third case considers whether a scheme could validly be amended to close the final salary section to future accrual when a guarantee was in place about benefits for certain members who had transferred in from another scheme in 1988 as a result of a scheme merger.

The fourth case relates to a lump sum death benefit paid outside of the relevant two year period meaning that it was an unauthorised payment and whether the employer and administrator had taken appropriate steps when dealing with the payment.