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ombudsman news

issue 5

May 2001

"no loss" pension review cases

Generally, the aim of redress in pension review cases is to put investors in the position they would have been in had they not been wrongly advised to leave an occupational pension scheme.

In the early years of the pension review, the assumptions of the Personal Investment Authority and the Financial Services Authority concerning future inflation, investment growth and annuity rates tended to be less favourable to investors than they are now. It could be, therefore, that on reaching retirement, some investors who have had their pensions reviewed and have received redress in accordance with the regulators' guidance may find they are not, after all, in the same position they would have been in had they not taken the advice to leave their occupational scheme. They may, instead, experience a shortfall. Of course, there may also be instances of investors who find they are better off.

Where an investor is aware of a shortfall, a complaint is inevitable. In such cases, we would need to scrutinise the firm's pension review file to check if there had been any departure from the guidance and, if so, to establish any prima facie evidence of loss. We have no power to make an award if a regulated firm has conducted its review in accordance with the published guidance.

Walter Merricks, chief ombudsman

ombudsman news gives general information on the position at the date of publication. It is not a definitive statement of the law, our approach or our procedure.

The illustrative case studies are based broadly on real-life cases, but are not precedents. Individual cases are decided on their own facts.