TPO plans to take on TPAS’ dispute resolution process

Ombudsman Anthony Arter said the move would remove duplication

The Pensions Ombudsman (TPO) is planning to bring The Pensions Advisory Service’s (TPAS) dispute resolution process into its remit.

The centralisation of the process will be designed to avoid duplication of the process, and improve the customer experience, TPO told PP.

The project is currently under consultation with industry representatives, users of the services and pension providers.

The move is expected to take place by the end of this year, ahead of TPAS’ merger with Pension Wise and the Money Advice Service into a single financial guidance body. The body is being put forward in Parliament in a Financial Guidance and Claims Bill to be debated after the summer recess.

Ombudsman Anthony Arter confirmed to PP that the two bodies were collaborating on the project.

“We are collaborating with TPAS on a project to centralise dispute resolution within TPO aimed at improving the customer experience and avoiding duplication of services,” he said.

“We want to collect views on what are the key issues to be considered and will be surveying industry representatives, applicants to our service and approaching pension providers.

“We want to ensure there is minimal duplication so customers can have the most efficient and effective service possible. The customer journey must also be clear, with customers – applicants and respondents – knowing who to approach and when.”

In its annual report published last month, TPO revealed enquiries had soared by 22% over the 2016/17 year with transfer complaints doubling to 11% of all complaints.

However, 70% of disputes were resolved informally without TPO having to adjudicate on the matter.

At the time, Arter said disputes could be resolved much earlier in the process “by working together”, perhaps prompting TPO’s current plans.

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