News type:
Thu 7 Jul 2016

The Pensions Ombudsman Service today publishes its Annual Report and Accounts for 2015/16.

Our caseload

  • We handled around 5,000 enquiries, 18% more than in 2014/15.
  • We took on 1,363 cases for investigation, 6% more than the previous year.
  • We completed 1,308 investigations, 35% more than the previous year.
  • 63% of cases were resolved informally by our adjudicators and 37% formally with an ombudsman’s decision, reversing last year’s position when 44% of cases were resolved informally and 56% formally.
  • Around 40% of cases formally decided by an ombudsman were upheld or partly upheld.
  • Cases about the actions of the Pension Protection Fund continue to form a small part of our work, with 11 new cases for investigation accepted in the year.
  • We received just over 200 complaints concerning suspected pension liberation, (180 similar complaints were accepted in 2014/15).
  • Pension liberation cases accounted for 20% of all completed investigations.
  • Personal pension complaints accounted for 46% of our completed investigations compared to 25% in 2014/15.

 Our performance

  • We responded to 98% of all enquiries within two working days of receipt (our target was 95% within two working days of receipt).
  • We decided whether or not we would investigate a complaint in five weeks on average (our target was seven weeks).
  • We completed investigations in an average of 10 months (our target was 11 months).
  • 25% of our investigations were completed in six months or less, an increase on the 18% from the previous two years.
  • 27% of our completed cases ended in resolution or with the complaint withdrawn, compared to 22% concluded in this way in 2014/15.

Running the office

  • We stayed within budget, with costs of £3.381million.
  • Our cost per case is £942 and our cost per completed investigation is £2,584.
  • At the end of the year we had 50 employees (45.14 full time equivalent posts).

The Pensions Ombudsman, Anthony Arter, commented:

“There has been a marked increase in the number of pension complaints coming to our office. This is particularly so in respect of personal pensions where in the financial year 2014/15 they accounted for 25% of our completed investigations.  This has increased now to 46% with the largest increase being Self Invested Personal Pensions.”

“Our priority in the past year was to find ways to deal with complaints more efficiently while at the same time simplifying the wider customer journey. Changes to our internal processes and a focus on dialogue and early resolution are helping us to deliver this.  It has resulted in a dramatic increase to 63% in the number of cases resolved informally.”

“It is vital to have clear signposting and a simple pathway to a more straightforward resolution of all pension complaints in order for the public and pensions industry to have confidence in a fair and impartial outcome.”

Our Annual Report and Accounts for 2015/16 can be downloaded from our website. To read the full report click here.