The Pensions Advisory Service(TPAS) has transferred its dispute resolution function to The Pensions Ombudsman (TPO).
The move intends to simplify the customer journey, enabling customers to access all pension dispute resolutions in one place, through The Pensions Ombudsman.
Prior to this, and at present, customers are able to approach both TPAS and TPO for assistance in dealing with a pension complaint. TPAS generally focuses on queries before the pension scheme's internal dispute resolution procedure has been completed, and TPO typically deals with complaints that have concluded the IDRP.
The move will see TPAS' dispute resolution and volunteer network of over 350 advisers all transfer to TPO. This will be completed by 1 April 2018, it has been confirmed.
TPO and TPAS will update their signposting to the public and pensions industry and will be provided with information to confirm their amended services.
TPO pensions ombudsman Anthony Arter said: “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 commented: “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.”
TPAS will continue to provide pension information and guidance and will play a key role as part of the new Single Financial Guidance Body.
Minister for Pensions and Financial Inclusion Guy Opperman commented: “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."
Looking at the decision to move the disputes service, he added: “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”