TPO upholds failure to pay complaint

The Pensions Ombudsman (TPO) has upheld a complaint against Berics Ltd, after the employer failed to pay the full pension contributions of the complainant, Mr E, into his pension scheme.

Berics has been ordered to pay all of the unpaid employer and employee contributions into the scheme, and to ensure an additional payment is made into the scheme in respect of the investment return that the contributions would have received.

In addition to this, Mr E has been awarded a payment of £1,000 for the serious distress and inconvenience caused to him.

Mr E raised the complaint after a number of contributions were not paid into the scheme despite being deducted from his salary, with no employee or employer contributions remitted to the scheme from 20 April 2019 to 27 December 2019.

Whilst Berics emailed Mr E on 3 December to confirm that it would make a one-off lump sum payment that evening in respect of the missing payments, this payment was never made.

As a result, Mr E followed up with Berics on five occasions in January 2020 to request that it submit the missing contributions to the scheme, with a number of WhatsApp messages also sent to the team at Berics.

No response was received from Berics, however, with TPO also receiving no responses to its enquiries.

As such, TPO stated that Berics had shown a “complete disregard of its responsibilities and legal requirements” having failed to respond to TPO or Mr E since December 2019, amounting to maladministration.

In light of this, Berics has been given 21 days to pay £678.85 into the scheme in respect of the missing contributions, alongside an additional payment to reflect any investment loss, and the aforementioned award for distress and inconvenience.

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