We receive a range of complaints from consumers about pensions, whether they are put in place by their employer or are their own personally set-up pensions. If you're involved in resolving complaints, this page gives an overview of the complaints we see in this area and our general approach.
Our general approach to complaints about pensions and annuities
We look at the facts and circumstances of each individual complaint and we'll listen impartially to both you and your customer when deciding what's fair and reasonable in the circumstances.
We’ll reach what we consider to be a fair and reasonable outcome in the particular circumstances of a complaint and take into account any relevant laws and regulations, regulators’ rules, guidance and standards which were in place at the time of the event complained about. We follow the FCA’s dispute resolution rules (DISP). We’ll also look at codes of practice that were in place at the time of the problem the complaint is about if it’s appropriate, as well as how you’ve tried to put things right.
If we uphold a complaint we’ll try, as far as possible, to put the consumer in the position they would have been but for the error. This could take the form of financial compensation paid to the pension plan or directly to the consumer, and/or reconstructing pension plans where possible. We might also make an award for any trouble and upset caused.
You can find out more about our general approach to compensation and our award limits.
Complaints we deal with
We look at complaints about businesses regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). This includes certain types of complaint about:
- personal pensions and SIPPs – both advice and administration issues
- transfers from one personal pension arrangement to another
- transfers from Occupational Pension Schemes to personal pensions or SIPPs (including issues relating to the “Pension Review”)
- free standing additional voluntary contribution schemes
- in certain situations, advice on some types of workplace pensions where the member is also the trustee, such as an Executive Pension Plans (EPP) or Small Self-Administered Schemes (SSAS)
Complaints about administration (not advice) involving personal and workplace pensions can also be dealt with by the Pensions Ombudsman. All other complaints about workplace pensions are dealt with by the Pensions Ombudsman. Complaints about state pensions are usually dealt with by the Pension Service.
Where a complaint doesn’t fall under our jurisdiction, we’ll tell the consumer about any other organisation that might be able to help. Where a complaint does fall under our jurisdiction, but could also be dealt with by the Pensions Ombudsman, e.g. the administration of a personal pension, you must still give referral rights to our service in your final response letter – you can find the requirements for a final response letter in the FCA handbook.
Business support and engagement
As well as resolving disputes, we also work with businesses to help prevent complaints. Our work gives us an insight into how complaints arise and how they might be avoided in the future. Find out more about the ways we share our knowledge and experience.
Businesses and consumer advisers can contact our Business Support Hub for general information on how the ombudsman might look at a particular complaint, or for guidance on our rules and how we work.