The Pensions Ombudsman will take into account temporary guidance on delaying defined benefit transfers when dealing with complaints about delays caused by coronavirus.
The Pensions Regulator today updated its guidance in relation to the impact of coronavirus to alert advisers and schemes that the Pensions Ombudsman has confirmed it will take into account the latest guidance if it receives complaints about delays.
The Ombudsman stated: “Given the additional pressures we are all facing, we will be flexible in our approach to existing pension complaints, whenever possible.
“We will continue to take into account the latest guidance from The Pensions Regulator to allow for the possible effects that the current crisis is having on our stakeholders and customers.”
Last week the regulator published guidance allowing DB schemes to delay member requests to transfer out by up to three months.
This was to give trustees more time to calculate cash equivalent transfer values (CETVs), as due to falling markets caused by the coronavirus pandemic, it is now more difficult for them to determine the underlying value of pension funds.
The Pensions Ombudsman is currently only dealing with existing complaints and will only process new complaints when it returns to its full service.
Any post or emails will have to be re-submitted at a later date, but the Ombudsman is looking to extend its three-year limit on bringing complaints.
The TPR has also updated its guidance to warn pension trustees to be vigilant and ensure members are not rushed into financial decisions or are at risk from pension scams.
Due to instability of their employer or the financial markets, savers may look to transfer their pension which means they could be targeted more easily by scammers attempting to lure them to ‘safe havens’.
The TPR has told trustees that if a saver asks about transferring their pension, they should urge them to exercise extreme caution and visit ScamSmart which has specific guidance relating to Covid-19.
To speak to an adviser, contact us on 0191 384 1008.