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Standard Life Group Personal Pension Plan (CAS-77913-X7V0)

Complainant: Mr L
Complaint Topic: Administration
Ref: CAS-77913-X7V0
Outcome: Not upheld
Respondent: Standard Life Assurance Limited
Type: Pension complaint or dispute
Appeal: No

Ombudsman’s Determination


I do not uphold Mr L’s complaint and no further action is required by SL. 

Complaint summary

Mr L complained about the service he received from SL. He said that:

  • SL did not contact him prior to his 55th birthday to advise him of his pension options at age 55; 
  • SL did not contact him in April 2015 to inform him of the changes in pension legislation that would allow its clients to take their pension benefits at age 55;
  • he contacted SL on 22 April 2021, to request help in taking his pension benefits. He did not receive an annuity quote until 22 June 2021. During this delay his pension value experienced high volatility and SL was taking a daily fee, both of which he says caused him to suffer a financial loss. He would like to receive compensation for the distress this caused him; 
  • on 29 April 2021, his understanding was that SL had confirmed that it provided incorrect information to him, but it did not raise a complaint for this error until 30 May 2021; 
  • SL provided incorrect quotes detailing the fees which would be applied to the Plan; 
  • SL did not provide him with other available options, including pension drawdown. He believed SL was attempting to coerce him towards buying an annuity, as it would receive a fee of up to 3.6% of the Plan’s value; 
  • due to a server error, the SL system often displayed an incorrect fund value. Mr L said he would have moved his funds to a zero-risk option had he known the value of the fund was in fact falling; and 
  • while waiting for an annuity quote, he wrote to SL on at least three occasions to ask for help in confirming the fees he was paying. In each reply it ignored or avoided answering this question. He would like compensation in respect of this poor service and would like to know whether he should report this to the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). 

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