Dominic Harris confirmed as next pensions ombudsman

The Work and Pensions Committee (WPC) has confirmed the appointment of Dominic Harris as pensions ombudsman and Pension Protection Fund (PPF) ombudsman, following a pre-appointment hearing.

The Department for Work and Pensions previously confirmed that Harris was the preferred candidate for the role, following the departure of current pensions ombudsman, Anthony Arter, whose term is due to expire at the end of this month.

Harris, who is a qualified solicitor, is currently a partner in the pensions team at law firm CMS and also serves as chair of the Investment and Defined Contribution Committee of the Association of Pension Lawyers.

However, the WPC confirmed that Harris does not intend to maintain any other professional commitments alongside being pensions ombudsman.

At the pre-appointment hearing, Harris was questioned on his past experience as a pensions lawyer, his assessment of the work of the ombudsman in recent years, and how he would address future challenges, such as an increase in complaints within current resources.

In addition to this, he also confirmed the arrangements that would be put in place to manage any potential conflicts of interest given his current role advising pension schemes and his wife’s role as a pension scheme trustee.

According to the WPC, Harris stated that the key practical point would be to ensure that any potential conflict of interest was identified early, in order for current arrangements to be effective.

In its report following the hearing, the WPC stated: "We would like to put on record our thanks to Antony Arter for his service as pensions ombudsman and the PPF ombudsman over the past seven years.

"We are satisfied that Mr Dominic Harris has the personal independence and professional competence to be the pensions ombudsman and the PPF ombudsman. We wish him every success in his new role, and we look forward to working with him."

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