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Preparing for a storm? FOS invests in DB transfer complaints training

The FOS has invested in extra training to ensure staff are 'consistent and fair' when dealing with complaints about defined benefit pension transfer advice.

Preparing for a storm? FOS invests in DB transfer complaints training

The Financial Ombudsman Services (FOS) has invested in extra training to ensure staff are 'consistent and fair' when dealing with complaints about defined benefit (DB) pension transfer advice. 

In its strategic plan and budget for 2019/20, the FOS said investment and pension advice 'can be particularly complex and entrenched' due to the large amounts of money involved. 

'Advisers have told us they are particularly concerned about potential complaints involving transfers out of DB pension schemes. This includes complaints from people who feel they should not have been advised to transfer out, think they have lost out due to delays, or are unhappy with advisers who have refused to help them access their pension pot,' it said.

'This year we have continued to invest in our case handlers’ training to ensure the ongoing consistency and fairness of our answers to these complaints.'

The FOS also cited its recent publication of pension transfer advice cases as part of its work to reassure advisers about its handling of complaints, as well as a panel discussion it held with Royal London policy director and former pensions minister Steve Webb.   

Earlier this year the FOS revealed delays to receiving CETV reports were the most common cause of complaints about DB transfers. It added it has received 318 complaints about DB transfers since April 2015, out of 15,000 pension complaints. 

Today the FOS said it expects to receive 14,500 complaints about investments and pensions over the course of the 2018/19 financial year. This is 15% higher than it received last year. 

However pension and investment complaints still make up a small proportion of the total complaints received. For example the FOS expects to receive 90,500 complaints about banking and credit this year. PPI complaints are expected to reach 200,000, while general insurance complaints excluding PPI are forecast to hit 40,000. 

Meanwhile payday loan complaints have soared in the last year, as the FOS forecast a 172% rise from 18,400 last year to 50,000 this year. 

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