The set-up now is that:
- complaints or disputes about workplace or personal pension arrangements should now be referred to the Pensions Ombudsman (TPO); and
- general requests for information or guidance should now be referred to The Pensions Advisory Service (TPAS).
In due course (probably early in 2019), TPAS, the Money Advisory Service and Pension Wise will merge into a new single financial guidance body. The new entity will provide advice and guidance on pensions, debt and other money issues.
Trustees are being encouraged to communicate the change of focus to members now, in advance of formal disclosure requirements being changed. At the moment trustees are required to tell members that TPAS is available to help with pensions questions and unresolved issues with trustees, and that TPO may investigate and determine complaints. Trustees also have to give this information as part of the internal dispute resolution procedure (IDRP). This requirement is now out of date, but will continue, technically, to apply until the law changes, something that is being held up by Brexit. However the Department for Work and Pensions and the Pensions Regulator have agreed that trustees can give members the right information now, without risking a breach of statutory requirements.
There is also better redirection of complaints. It used to be that members, confused by the jurisdictions of TPO and the Financial Ombudsman Service, would approach the wrong service, and find themselves back at square one when their complaint was turned away. Now, thanks to a revised Memorandum of Understanding between the two services, whether a member brings their concern to TPO, or the Financial Ombudsman Service, they are now being directed to the correct service. Each service also has a useful leaflet to help members decide where to go.