What are the time limits for a complaint about a decision made by the Pension Protection Fund or the Financial Assistance Scheme?
The Ombudsman - in their capacity as the Pension Protection Fund Ombudsman (PPFO) - can consider complaints concerning a decision made by the Pension Protection Fund (PPF) or the Financial Assistance Scheme (FAS). The time limits for complaining to the PPFO about these complaints are considerably shorter than those for complaints to the Pensions Ombudsman about a personal or occupational pension.
If your complaint concerns maladministration against the PPF or a reviewable matter, you will need to submit your complaint to the PPFO within 28 days from the date the PPF’s Reconsideration Committee issues its decision. We can extend this time limit in exceptional circumstances. Exceptional circumstances are determined on the facts of each individual case and could include, for example, delays caused by an applicant’s serious ill health.
We cannot extend the time limit for complaints concerning certain reviewable matters, for example cases where the Board issues a withdrawal notice refusing to assume responsibility for specified schemes. A full list of the reviewable matters in respect of which we cannot extend time is provided under Regulation 3(2) of The Pension Protection Fund (Reference of Reviewable Matters to the PPF Ombudsman) Regulations 2005. [Hyperlink to the legislation on the Gov website]
If you are appealing a FAS review decision, you will need to submit your appeal to the PPFO within two months from when the PPF (as Scheme Manager for the FAS) issues the FAS review decision. We can extend the two months time limit in exceptional circumstances.
We cannot look at complaints of maladministration against the FAS.
Our legal framework means it is sometimes not possible for us to investigate a complaint formally until certain jurisdictional requirements are met. But if we consider we can help resolve the matter outside our adjudication service, your complaint will be passed to our Early Resolution Service.
Our Early Resolution Team is made up of staff and volunteers. All our volunteers are pension professionals with many years of pension experience. Your caseworker, whether staff or volunteer, will be impartial and will consider the issues without taking sides. They will look to see if they can help resolve your complaint fairly and informally at an early stage, without the need for formal adjudication. The service does not have legal powers.
Whatever our caseworker’s opinion, you are free to ask that a more formal investigation into your complaint is carried out, which could result in a final, and binding, Determination being made by the Ombudsman. Sometimes you will have to complete your pension provider’s formal complaints process before the formal investigation can begin.
If you haven’t received a response from your pension provider after eight weeks, you can submit an application to us.
You will need to check that we can deal with your complaint and that you are within time to bring a complaint to us.
To find out more information, visit our ‘Can I complain’ page.
When you submit your application, you will need to send us a copy of your complaint letter/email and any other relevant documentation relating to your complaint.