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800 DB Transfer complaints to the FOS: A 44% increase in one year

01 March 2021. Published by Emma Murphy-O'Connor , Associate

The FOS have seen the number of complaints relating to defined benefit transfer advice increase by 44% since 2019. However, the proportion of decisions being upheld appears to have fallen.

It has been revealed that complaints made to the FOS relating to defined benefit transfer advice increased by 44% in 2020, rising to 800 complaints from 554 in 2019.

Of the complaints made in 2019, 41% were upheld. In 2020, there were approximately 800 complaints regarding occupational pension transfers of which 38% were upheld.

The rise in complaints about pension transfer advice comes as no surprise, given the FCA's continued focus on pension transfer advice. The rise is also likely related in part to the FCA having written to all ex-members of the British Steel Pension Scheme in June 2020, advising them to consider whether they might have received unsuitable advice. We have also seen an increase in claims management companies and claimant law firms encouraging individuals to make complaints.

It is, perhaps, mildly encouraging that the uphold rate of these complaints appears to have fallen slightly and remains at under 50%.  

Nevertheless, the fall out from the introduction of the pension freedoms and the huge boom in pension transfers that resulted from it will continue to blight the industry for some time to come.