Find out about pensions and how we can help if you have a complaint about your pension or annuity.
This page contains information about our general approach to complaints about pensions. If you’re looking for information specifically on Covid-19, please look at our dedicated page that contains information for consumers about complaints in relation to Covid-19.
What are pensions and annuities?
Pensions are a way of saving towards retirement. You can make payments into a pension in lump sums or by regular (often monthly) contributions, or both. Your employer may also contribute.
Pensions are tax-efficient savings plans. ‘Tax relief’ – the amount of income tax you’ll have paid on the amount of your contribution – is usually added to the amount paid into the pension, up to certain limits, and growth in the pension is also largely free of tax. And when you come to retire, you’ll usually be able to take part of the pension as a tax-free lump sum, with the rest being subject to income tax.
From April 2015, the government’s ‘pension freedoms’ have meant you can take as much of your personal pension pot as you like in one go (subject to restrictions on some types of pension). But anything beyond the tax-free cash amount is subject to income tax.
How we handle complaints about pensions and annuities
We’ll look at the facts and circumstances of each individual complaint. We’ll listen impartially to what you and the business have to say.
We’ll reach what we consider to be a fair and reasonable outcome in the particular circumstances of a complaint. We’ll also take into account whether – and how – the business you’ve complained about has tried to put things right.
If we uphold a complaint we’ll try, as far as possible, to put you in the position you would have been but for the business’s error. This could take the form of financial compensation paid to your pension plan or directly to you. We might also make an award for any trouble and upset caused.
There are limits to the amount of an award we can make. You can find out more about our award limits.
Complaints we see
Generally, pensions fall into two categories – workplace pensions and personal pensions. But an employer can set up some personal pensions. And people who run their own businesses can set up some workplace pensions.
We look at complaints about businesses regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). We can only look at a complaint about a workplace pension if it’s about the way it’s been administered by an FCA-regulated business, or if it and its investments have been advised upon by an FCA-regulated business. 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.
If we aren’t able to look at a complaint, we’ll tell you about any other organisation that might be able to help. You can find more specific detail about the types of complaint we see in the links below:
How to complain
How long it takes
For most types of pensions complaint, it takes around three months for us to allocate cases. It can sometimes take longer, depending on what your complaint is about.
We’re working hard to reduce this wait time, so you may hear from us sooner than this.
- Find out more about when you can expect to hear from us once we’ve started to investigate your complaint.
- If you’re facing financial hardship or severe ill health, please let us know.
- If you’re experiencing financial difficulties, you may also find the Money Advice Service website useful, it contains a list of online debt advice services where you can get immediate and personalised help.
Information about Covid-19
For guidance specifically about Covid-19, please look at our dedicated page that contains information about complaints in relation to Covid-19.