There are numerous options if you have been mis-sold a pension. You could contact the Financial Ombudsman Service or the Pensions Ombudsman. These are the bodies that will formally investigate your complaints and make an unbiased ruling.
However, there is certain information they will require when pursuing a complaint.
We will now take a look at the subject template that you will need to use when contacting either of the ombudsmen. It is also worth noting that you can also utilise the services of a claims management company to pursue your claim.
The more information you can give the ombudsman at the beginning of the process, the more chance of a successful outcome.
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The evidence required will vary from case to case, but there are a number of common themes. Some of the specific information required includes:-
There are different procedures for different types of a pension fund. Therefore, information regarding the set-up of your pension fund is very important. In the past, some complaints have been the result of misunderstandings between various parties.
However, that in itself could be treated as negligence and open the door to compensation.
When it comes to pension schemes, you will often find that inappropriate/incorrect advice doesn’t materialize until years down the line. Indeed, it may be that upon retirement, you’re not faced with the level of income you were promised.
This is why it is very important to maintain your own records regarding advice over the years – who gave it and when.
This section of your letter, the details of your complaint, and the background are extremely important. This will direct the ombudsman to the correct areas of investigation and assist in discovering the truth.
In some cases, the adviser may have acted perfectly appropriately, while in other cases, this may not be the case. Some of the more common complaints include:-
When you consider that some pension funds may be in existence for more than 50 years, fees and charges can make a huge difference to the end result. Recent regulations introduced a greater degree of transparency regarding fees and charges to that seen in years gone by.
As a regulated adviser, failure to disclose an agreement with a third party, which may involve commission, would not be looked on favourably by the regulator/ombudsman.
Unfortunately, we have seen numerous occasions where individuals have been “promised” a particular outcome for their pension fund on retirement. Very often, this will lead to hopes of repaying an outstanding mortgage or other debts.
We only need to look back at the endowment policy scandal to see what kind of impact this can have on everyday families. If you have been misled with regards to predictions about the future value of your pension fund, this could form the basis for a very strong complaint.
There are numerous restrictions and options available with different pension funds. For example, a defined benefit scheme offers a guaranteed income in later life, based upon your final salary. There is a legal stipulation in the financial regulations regarding the transfer of defined benefit schemes.
If they are valued at over £30,000 and being transferred to another defined benefit scheme/defined contribution scheme, advice will be required. There is a lot to consider! All financial advisers are legally obliged to act in the best interests of their clients.
Unfortunately, this is one of the more common complaints. When looking at an individual’s pension investments, these should be considered as part of the individual’s overall financial scenario. Looking at different types of investments, such as pensions, savings, stock market investments, or insurance policies in isolation, can be dangerous.
For example, if you received a significant pay rise but were solely focusing upon your pension fund, you may be advised to increase your contributions. However, if this is set against significant high-interest debts such as personal loans/credit cards, the situation is not so straightforward.
So, if your pension adviser failed to assess your overall finances (often referred to as Know Your Client), you may well have the basis for a significant compensation claim.
No, is the simple answer. There is the Financial Ombudsman Service and The Pensions Ombudsman that can take on a formal complaint. Sometimes it can be difficult when trying to highlight the exact issues and also providing suitable evidence.
The ombudsman would only investigate your specific complaint, which may not necessarily alert them to other issues. This is where claims management companies, many with decades of experience, can prove priceless.
The first thing to do is gather as much evidence as possible regarding your complaint and your dealings with the adviser in question. Then approach a claims management company and ask them to review your claim and supporting evidence.
If they believe you have a minimum 60% chance of success, they will likely offer to take on your case. Traditionally, this would be on a “no-win, no fee” basis, which would indemnify you against any costs incurred as a consequence of pursuing your case.
In exchange, the claims management company would look to secure a success fee. This is a share of any compensation awarded and is traditionally around 25%.
There is no fixed timescale when it comes to any type of personal injury or pension-related complaint. However, the more information you can provide to your claims management company/ombudsman, the greater your chances of success.
There is an EU directive regarding complaints procedure, suggesting all complaints should be completed within 90 days. While the majority may be completed within this timescale, there is a significant number that can go on for many months, if not years.
Yes. There are two timescales to take into consideration the six-year window of opportunity from the day you received the advice. Then there is the three-year window of opportunity, from the date it was confirmed the advice was misleading/inappropriate.
Due to the very nature of pension funds, there are numerous occasions where confirmation of inappropriate advice does not materialize until many years down the line. Therefore, there is a degree of flexibility with regards to the pension complaints procedure as with other areas of personal injuries/financial complaints.
One word which crops up time and time again with regards to financial complaints is “complexity.” While there are formal complaint procedures that individuals can pursue in their own right, it is important to present the right information in the right format.
As a consequence, more and more people are now using the services of claims management companies. The main crux of any compensation award would be to right any financial wrongs as a consequence of the advice given.
Here at Money Savings Advice, we have partnered with some of the UK’s leading Financial Claims management companies. They have already helped thousands of people claim compensation for a mis-sold pension and they can do the same for you.
Choosing an independent claims management company means they won’t proceed with a claim unless they are sure it is in your best interests. They are also regulated by the FCA, which gives you an additional layer of protection.
If you would like to speak to one of these claim management companies who can help you make a compensation claim, then click on the below and answer the very simple questions.
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