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Dealing with pension problems and making a complaint

If there’s a problem with your pension, there are organisations that can help. Find out who you can complain to and what you can expect.

Your State Pension

In most cases, your first point of contact if you have a complaint related to your State Pension is The Pension Service (0800 731 0469). They’ll respond to your complaint within seven days.

However, if your complaint relates to your National Insurance contributions record, you need to contact HMRC.

You’ll find details of HMRC’s complaints procedures on the GOV.UK website

If you later want to take your complaint further, you can do this through the relevant tribunal:

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Defined contribution pensions

The correct organisation to contact with your complaint depends on the nature of the problem – see below.

Complaints about the way your pension scheme is being run

You first need to contact the company through which you joined the pension scheme.

This might be the pension provider itself, or it could be a professional financial adviser.

If you’re unable to resolve the problem in this way, your next step is to contact The Pensions Ombudsman

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

You need to contact The Pensions Ombudsman about a complaint within three years of the event(s) you’re complaining about happening. If it’s later, it needs to be 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
London, E14 4PU
Tel: 0800 917 4487
Email: enquiries@pensions-ombudsman.org.uk

You can also submit a complaint form online

Complaints about the selling and marketing of pensions

Do you think you were wrongly advised when you bought your pension? Or were you given information that’s turned out to be incorrect? Then you need to first complain to the company you bought the pension from (the provider or financial adviser).

If you’re not happy with the way they deal with your complaint, contact the Financial Ombudsman Service.

An example of the kind of complaint handled by the Ombudsman would be where someone was advised to take out a personal pension when they should have joined their workplace scheme.

If your pension provider goes out of business

If your pension provider goes out of business or goes into insolvency, leaving it unable to pay you money you’re owed, contact the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS).

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Defined benefit pensions

If your employer operates a defined benefit pension (such a final salary or career average pension), by law they must have a formal complaints procedure.

:If you find that you’re not happy with an aspect of your pension scheme, you should raise your issue with the scheme administrator.

Administrators run the scheme and will know all the rules and how these apply to you. 

If they can’t resolve the problem and they've been unable to explain why something is as it is, or if you feel they aren’t dealing with it properly, then you can look to escalate your complaint through your scheme’s Internal Dispute Resolution Process (IDRP).

If you can’t resolve the issue in this way, contact us – details are below.

If that doesn’t solve the problem, contact the Pensions Ombudsman on 0800 917 4487.

If your employer goes bust

Are you a member of a defined benefit pension scheme, and your employer has gone bust? If there isn’t enough money in its scheme to pay your pension then help might be available through an organisation called the Pension Protection Fund (PPF).

The PPF is accountable to parliament and their duty is to protect people with an eligible defined benefit pension when an employer becomes insolvent.

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Transferred a defined benefit pension?

Transfers out of workplace defined benefit schemes are complicated and it’s vital that you’re confident that you have received good advice. If you have any concerns - no matter how insignificant you feel they might be - you should read this information.

The financial regulator, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), has found that many people that transferred out of defined benefit schemes received unsuitable financial advice. If you received unsuitable advice to transfer, you could be entitled to compensation.

A defined benefit scheme provides valuable guarantees. There may be circumstances in which it is suitable to transfer. The FCA’s guidance to advisers is that they should start all reviews of a potential transfer with the assumption that a transfer is not in the customer’s best interests.

You should consider whether your advice was suitable or not based on your needs. Use the FCA's Advice Checker to understand whether the advice you received was right for you.

If you are unhappy with any aspect of the financial advice you received about transferring, you should follow the steps outlined below.

If you have a complaint about a financial adviser

Do you have a complaint relating to a financial adviser regarding the advice you’ve received?

If you think it is, your first step should be to try to resolve it with the adviser. They should have procedures in place to deal with these issues.

A regulated financial firm must respond to your complaint in writing within eight weeks, telling you whether the complaint has been successful or why they need more time to look into it. 

If you’re not happy with their response, you can see if it falls within complaints looked at by the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) You can also call them on 0800 023 4567

Using a regulated financial adviser gives you access to the FOS. This service is independent and free to use. It can make awards for compensation where something has gone wrong. The process for making a complaint is easy to do but, if you need help, the FOS will be able to talk you through it by calling 0800 023 4567.

If your financial adviser is no longer in business, you can make a claim to the Financial Services Compensation Scheme which is also free to use.

You do not need to use a claims management company (CMC) or a solicitor to make a complaint. If you do you will have to share any compensation you get with them.

If you need help, you can also contact us to discuss your situation. Based on what you tell us, we will always try to help you get the answers you need or identify the people you need to speak to.

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Looking for us? Now, we’re MoneyHelper

MoneyHelper is the new, easy way to get clear, free,
impartial help for all your money and pension choices.
Whatever your circumstances or plans, move forward with MoneyHelper.

Continue to website
Looking for us? Now, we’re MoneyHelper

MoneyHelper is the new, easy way to get clear, free,
impartial help for all your money and pension choices.
Whatever your circumstances or plans, move forward with MoneyHelper.

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