TPO partly upholds complaint against The Jaguar Pension Plan and Mercer

The Pensions Ombudsman (TPO) has partly upheld a complaint against The Jaguar Pension Plan, ordering the trustee (Jaguar Land Rover Pension Trustee Limited) to pay the complainant £1,000 and the administrator (Mercer Limited) to pay him £2,000 in recognition of the distress and inconvenience caused.

The complainant, identified by TPO as Mr R, reported that he was given incorrect figures when considering his retirement and that he relied on these figures when making his decision to take voluntary redundancy and retire early.

Mr R was seeking for either the trustee or the administrator to make good the shortfall in income between that which was mistakenly stated to him and that which he has now been correctly quoted.

Mr R’s complaint was first considered by one of TPO’s adjudicators who concluded that further action was required by both the trustee and Mercer but ruled that Mr R’s respective negligent misstatement and estoppel claims failed because his reliance on the incorrect information given was not reasonable.

TPO said that the circumstances of Mr R’s case were such that it is not possible to achieve a successful claim in negligent misstatement and estoppel respectively.

The ombudsman stated that it would direct redress if it could be shown that financial loss has flowed from the incorrect information given, which the member reasonably relied upon, but it did not consider that Mr R’s additional comments demonstrated that he reasonably relied on statements made by Mercer and fundamentally changed his financial position to his detriment.

Nonetheless, TPO stated, it was "extremely unfortunate" that Mercer "perpetuated the problem" and that its misquotations fall "far below" a reasonable standard of care amounting to maladminstration, which warranted an award for non-financial injustice rather than financial loss.

Whilst Mr R said he didn’t agree with the adjudicator’s argument that his claim should fail because he should instead have placed reliance on the 5 April 2018 statement as a benchmark of his correct pension entitlement.

In reaching its conclusions the ombudsman has stated that it appreciated that Mr R had understandably questioned which system he ought to have relied upon for accurate retirement figures if Mercer’s advice was to contact it for final confirmation, which he did, but to no avail.

Although the ombudsman expressed its sympathy for Mr R, it ruled that he did not satisfy the legal tests for a successful claim and therefore partly upheld his complaint.

Within 28 days of the determination the ombudsman directed that the trustee should pay Mr R £1,000 and Mercer should pay him £2,000 in recognition of the severe distress and inconvenience caused to him by their repeated failings.

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