Don't get complaints about your complaints procedure.

When was the last time that you reviewed your Internal Disputes Resolution Procedure (IDRP)?

What does it say about referring complaints to the Pensions Advisory Service and ultimately to the Pensions Ombudsman?Following the merging of these two bodies earlier this year, the Ombudsman has issued a template for the signpost wording that should be used in IDRPs and on pension scheme websites.

Curiously, this signposting template is very hard to find on the Ombudsman's website, so I'm grateful to Mairi Spiby, the Stakeholder Manager at the Ombudsman's office, who provided a useful document that sets out the wording to be included in the IDRP, and also wording for a scheme's website.

The IDRP wording is as follows:

You have the right to refer your complaint to The Pensions Ombudsman free of charge.

The Pensions Ombudsman deals with complaints and disputes which concern the administration and/or management of occupational and personal pension schemes.

Contact with The Pensions Ombudsman about a complaint needs to be made within three years of when the event(s) you are complaining about happened or, if later, within three years of when you first knew about it (or ought to have known about it). There is discretion for those time limits to be extended.

The Pensions Ombudsman can be contacted at 10 South Colonnade, Canary Wharf, E14 4PU. Tel: 0800 917 4487. Email: enquiries@pensions-ombudsman.org.uk Website: www.pensions-ombudsman.org.uk

You can also submit a complaint form online: www.pensions-ombudsman.org.uk/our-service/make-a-complaint/.

If you have general requests for information or guidance concerning your pension arrangements contact:

The Pensions Advisory Service 11 Belgrave Road, London, SW1V 1RB Telephone: 0300 123 1047 Website: www.pensionsadvisoryservice.org.uk/

There are two versions of the wording that should be put on the scheme's website:

Option 1 - short form option

If you have a complaint or dispute concerning your workplace or personal pension arrangements you should contact:

The Pensions Ombudsman Telephone: 0800 917 4487 Website: www.pensions-ombudsman.org.uk

If you have general requests for information or guidance concerning your pension arrangements contact:

The Pensions Advisory Service Telephone: 0300 123 1047 Website: www.pensionsadvisoryservice.org.uk/

Option 2 - long form

How can The Pensions Ombudsman help me?

The Pensions Ombudsman solely deals with pension complaints. It can help if you have a complaint or dispute about the administration (including transfers/conversion) and/or management of personal and occupational pensions.

The types of pension arrangements it looks at include:

  • executive, group, and personal pension plans;
  • self-invested personal pensions (SIPP);
  • small self-administered pension schemes;
  • workplace, employer, and stakeholder pension schemes;
  • free standing additional voluntary contribution schemes; and
  • annuities and section 32 buy-out policies.

Some examples of types of complaints it considers include:

  • auto enrolment;
  • benefits: incorrect calculation/refusal/failure to pay or late payment
  • charges/fees;
  • death benefits;
  • failure to provide information/act on instructions;
  • fund switches;
  • guaranteed Annuity Rate;
  • ill health;
  • interpretation of scheme rules/policy terms;
  • misquote/misinformation;
  • Payment/pension increases;
  • pension liberation;
  • transfers: general;
  • winding up; and
  • with-profits issues.

There is no financial limit on the amount of money that The Pensions Ombudsman can make a party award you. Its determinations are legally binding on all the parties and are enforceable in court.

Contact with The Pensions Ombudsman about a complaint needs to be made within three years of when the event(s) you are complaining about happened or, if later, within three years of when you first knew about it (or ought to have known about it). There is discretion for those time limits to be extended.

The Pensions Ombudsman can be contacted at 10 South Colonnade, Canary Wharf, E14 4PU. Tel: 0800 917 4487. Email: enquiries@pensions-ombudsman.org.uk Website: www.pensions-ombudsman.org.uk

You can also submit a complaint form online: www.pensions-ombudsman.org.uk/our-service/make-a-complaint/.

If you have general requests for information or guidance concerning your pension arrangements contact:

The Pensions Advisory Service 11 Belgrave Road, London, SW1V 1RB Telephone: 0300 123 1047 Website: www.pensionsadvisoryservice.org.uk/

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