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Paine Webber (UK) Pension Plan (PO-569)

Complainant: Mrs Diane C Godfrey
Complaint Topic: Guaranteed annuity rate
Ref: PO-569
Outcome: Upheld
Respondent: 1. Abbey Life Assurance Company Limited (Abbey Life),
2. Towers Watson Limited (formerly known as Watson Wyatt and previously the
Wyatt Company) (Towers Watson)
Type: Pension complaint or dispute

Complaint summary

Mrs Godfrey has complained that Abbey Life and Towers Watson failed to inform her, at the time she took her retirement benefits, of the existence of a guaranteed annuity rates (GAR) in relation to a policy (numbered 250302020P) (the Policy) held on her behalf by the Trustee and providing her entitlement under the Plan.

Summary of the Ombudsman’s Determination and reasons

The complaint should be upheld against Abbey Life and Towers Watson because:

  • Abbey Life failed to provide a pre-retirement option letter and subsequent retirement illustration for Mrs Godfrey in accordance with its usual procedures, which it had done for other members of the Plan;

Towers Watson failed to make proper enquiries as to the benefits provided by the Policy held by the Trustee for Mrs Godfrey’s benefit, despite information hinting that a GAR may be applicable.  Further, Towers Watson also failed to compare the benefits provided by the existing incumbent insurer under the Policy with benefits provided by other insurers on the open market.

View determination


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