TPO celebrates its 30th anniversary

The Pensions Ombudsman (TPO) is celebrating its anniversary this month, marking 30 years since its establishment on 1 April 1991.

Since its introduction, TPO has received over 100,000 written inquiries, resolved more than 25,000 disputes and issued nearly 9,000 determinations.

In this time it has had five ombudsmen and four deputy ombudsmen, with current ombudsman, Anthony Arter, describing reaching the 30-year anniversary as “a great achievement”.

During those 30 years, the number of staff has increased from 14 to 113, while the number of people approaching TPO with an enquiry increased by 44 per cent between 2015/16 and 2019/20, from 4,998 to 8,977.

“We have also had to change our approach to continue to meet the needs of our customers,” Arter continued. “Since I joined in 2015, a significant change has been to resolve complaints informally, at an earlier stage.

“In May 2015, 100 per cent of cases were resolved formally, by February 2016 70 per cent of cases were resolved informally.

“This new approach has been further assisted by the Early Resolution Team transferring over from The Pensions Advisory Service in 2018 so that in 2019/20, 95 per cent of cases were resolved informally. TPO has certainly undergone many transformations over the years.”

Arter stated that there was “no doubt” that demand will continue to rise and TPO will need to remain “flexible and adapt to our customers’ needs” as the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic becomes clearer.

“As TPO celebrates its 30th anniversary, we are ready for the challenges ahead,” he added.

Commenting on the anniversary, TPO chair, Caroline Rookes, said: “The celebration of TPO’s 30th anniversary is a momentous occasion and I am delighted to be a part of it.

“In this anniversary year, the Corporate Board will be expanded with the appointment of three non-executive directors and we will be welcoming a new pensions ombudsman when Anthony Arter’s appointment comes to an end.

“It is going to be an exciting and challenging year and I look forward to working with TPO colleagues to continue to deliver an excellent service.”

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