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The Rise of the Blame Culture in the Pensions Sector

Watchdogs in the UK pensions industry are reporting increasing numbers of complaints, a trend that’s expected to continue over the first complete year following the introduction of increased flexibility involving withdrawal rights.

Blame Culture in the Pensions Sector

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Whilst the increase choice, regulatory changes, and software for IFAs and other pensions advisers is benefiting many clients planning for retirement, there are still a large number of people becoming embroiled in this blame culture.

Complaints Challenge

Both the Pensions Advisory Service and the Pensions Ombudsman included the issue of increased complaints in their 2014/12015 annual reports, highlighting it as one of the biggest challenges for their staff in the coming year.

Meanwhile, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has revealed that complaints had risen by 20 per cent in the first figures to be released reflecting the effect of changes made in April.

Financial advisers are increasingly using their software for IFAs to manage the booming number of people wanting to explore their pension options and the rise in complaints is being put down in part to the growing knowledge about pension rights within schemes and the right to draw-down money.

The Pensions Ombudsman revealed a 21 per cent rise in enquiries and an increase of 22 per cent in expected cases during 2014/15. The ombudsman specifically handles pension scheme member complaints which have already been through the complaints process of individual schemes. TPAS also reported a 27 per cent rise in enquiries.

Booming Blame Culture

Many experts believe that the increasing use of professional financial advisers and their software such as that found on the Intelliflo website are symbols of change within the pensions industry but there is no doubt that the blame culture looks set to grow rather than abate.

Legal rights were amongst the most popular topics being discussed in 2014/15, according to the TPAS, and many complaints focussed on issues such as decision-making, delays and mistakes.

The Pensions Ombudsman, meanwhile, handled 21 per cent more investigations. A total of 38 per cent were upheld in full or in part.

The Ombudsman reported that common complaints centred on incorrect, late or missing benefits, misinformation or misquotations, and failures to act on instructions or provide information.

The FCA figures show a rise of 73,055 relevant complaints in the first half of 2015, including a rise of almost 90 per cent on complaints focussing on income drawdown.

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