The Pensions Advisory Service’s (TPAS) dispute resolution function is being transferred to The Pensions Ombudsman (TPO), consolidating all complaint handling within a single body.
At present customers can approach both TPO and TPAS for help when dealing with a pension complaint. But from April 1 TPAS’s TPAS dispute resolution team and volunteer network of over 350 advisers will be transferred to TPO.
TPAS tends to focus on complaints before the pension scheme’s internal dispute resolution procedure (IDRP) has been completed, while TPO typically deals with complaints that have been through IDRP.
The transfer is designed to simplify the customer journey. Customers will be able to access all pension dispute resolution, previously handled by two services, whether pre or post IDRP, in one place. TPAS will continue to focus on providing pension information and guidance and will become part of the new Single Financial Guidance Body.
TPO and TPAS will update their signposting to the public and pensions industry to reflect the services provided by each organisation. Pension schemes and providers will be given information to enable them to make the necessary changes to their signposting.
The Pensions Ombudsman, Anthony Arter says: “We have been working with TPAS to create one centre for the resolution of pension disputes helping to ensure a simpler and quicker customer journey.
“I am delighted to welcome the dispute resolution team and its network of volunteers to The Pensions Ombudsman. We have worked with the team for many years and recognise the excellent customer service which they deliver.”
TPAS chief executive Michelle Cracknell says: “It is imperative that customers get the help that they need with their pensions and it is easy for them to find it. We have been working with TPO to ensure that customers find the right place to get the help that they need and for both organisations to move customers seamlessly between the services to ensure that the customer gets the right help.”
Minister for Pensions and Financial Inclusion Guy Opperman says: “Confidence in private pensions is key to delivering our commitment of greater financial security for everyone in retirement. Whilst the planned Single Financial Guidance Body will ensure that financial guidance is open to everyone, at the same time it is essential that savers are clear on who to speak to if they have any complaints over their pension schemes.
“The decision to transfer disputes resolution work to The Pensions Ombudsman will both simplify how these complaints are handled, but should also give savers the confidence that their disputes will be resolved as quickly as possible”.