Legal framework: personal and occupational pensions
The main legislation is the Pension Schemes Act 1993, Part X. Under this Act we have powers to deal with complaints of maladministration and disputes of fact or law concerning personal and occupational pension schemes.
The power to decide these matters rests with the Pensions Ombudsman and Deputy Pensions Ombudsman who are appointed by the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions. Only an Ombudsman can make a final and binding decision on a case, however under the Act they can delegate any other responsibilities to other people in the organisation.
There are regulations made under the Act that deal with:
- our powers -the Personal and Occupational Pension Schemes (Pensions Ombudsman) Regulations 1996
- our procedures – the Personal and Occupational Pension Schemes (Pensions Ombudsman) (Procedure) Rules 1995
- how to enforce determinations in England and Wales – the County Court (Pensions Ombudsman) (Enforcement of Directions and Determinations) Rules 1993.
Particular parts of the legislation that may be important are section 146 of the Act which says, along with regulation 2, 3 and 4 of the 1996 Regulations, what we can and cannot investigate and who can bring matters to us, plus regulation 5 of the 1996 Regulations which sets out the time limits for doing so.