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The Focus Administration Pension Scheme (CAS-27569-X0V0 & CAS-73885-Q6V9)

Complainant: Mr M & Mr Y
Complaint Topic: Pension liberation
Ref: CAS-27569-X0V0 & CAS-73885-Q6V9
Outcome: Upheld
Appeal outcome: Pending
Respondent: Punter Southall Governance Services (Punter Southall)
Brambles Administration Limited (Brambles)
Mr Simon Kim Williams (the Original Trustee)
Type: Pension complaint or dispute
Appeal: Yes

Ombudsman’s Determination


Having fully considered the evidence and submissions from all parties, I uphold the complaints against the Original Trustee and Brambles. My reasons are as follows.

The Trustees have acted in breach of trust by:

failing to avoid being in a position of conflicting interests and failing to have in place and operate the necessary internal controls, as required by section 249A of the Pensions Act 2004;

failing to have adequate regard to the need for diversification of investments, as required by Regulation 7(2) of The Occupational Pension Schemes (Investment) Regulations 2005 (the Investment Regulations);

facilitating an unauthorised payment to Mr M before he reached his normal minimum pension age in breach of Rule 19 of the Scheme Rules; and

acting in breach of the duties imposed on them by Part I of the Pensions Act 1995 (1995 Act), and by case law.

The Trustees have committed acts of maladministration by:

failing to make the necessary enquiries to establish that the payment of Scheme funds to members on joining the Scheme constituted an Unauthorised Payment; and

failing to have regard to the Pensions Regulator’s Code in respect of investment governance.

Brambles has committed acts of maladministration by:

failing to maintain adequate records; and

failing to address members’ concerns appropriately.

Complaint summary

Mr M has made the following complaints:-

Having transferred into the Scheme he has lost nearly 50% of his pension, despite his understanding that the Scheme would protect his funds.

Having accepted the sale of the Scheme’s leasehold interest in 3TC House, 16 Crosby Road North, Liverpool (3TC House) at a loss to facilitate a transfer, he remains unable to transfer and Brambles has given repeated excuses while delaying it.

He should be allowed to transfer his investment of £46,970 in Tennyson Property Investments Limited.

He has never received annual reports and Brambles has not provided details of the Scheme’s trustee to enable him to make a complaint to the Trustees directly.

On submitting complaints to Brambles, he did not receive a reply.

Mr Y has said:-

He had not wanted to transfer to Brambles or invest in student accommodation.

When he sought to transfer, he was told by Brambles that he could not, and then that the investment had gone into administration.

Brambles failed to give him information about his pension or the investment.

He has lost his entire pension.


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