News type:
Mon 22 Feb 2016

The Pensions Ombudsman, Anthony Arter, issued the following statement.

The High Court issued its judgment on Friday 19 February in the case of Donna-Marie Hughes and Royal London, which was an appeal of my Determination of 30 June 2015.

The Pensions Ombudsman Service has around 200 live cases which are affected by the ruling, so we welcome the clarity that it brings to those using our Service and to the industry generally.

In particular, it provides instruction to trustees and administrators that, assuming the other requirements for a statutory transfer right are made out, members do not need to be in receipt of earnings from an employer sponsoring the occupational pension scheme to which they wish to transfer their pension. Earnings from another source are sufficient.

It seems likely that most transferring members will meet this requirement so, beyond verification of earnings and the provision of risk warnings, trustees and administrators will be conscious that under current legislation they cannot refuse such a transfer – even if they have significant concerns that it may be for the purposes of pension liberation.

Members with similar complaints will benefit from the ruling but should note that providers may need to seek further information and wish to ensure the risks are fully understood, before a transfer is made.