Guernsey QROPS Transfer Delay Complaint Rejected

The Pensions Ombudsman has rejected a complaint from a retirement saver concerning administration delays that stopped him transferring a UK pension fund to a Guernsey Qualifying Recognised Overseas Pension Scheme (QROPS).

David Brackley took his gripe to the ombudsman arguing that delays by pension manager Bluefin – now Capita Employee Benefits – unnecessarily delayed the transfer of his pension with the Travel Automation Systems Retirement Benefits Scheme.

The delay stopped the transfer because HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) delisted the Guernsey QROPS he planned to receive his pension cash.

Brackley claimed the transfer value of his pension decreased by just over £30,000 due to the delay and because he could not switch his fund to the QROPS, he now faces paying income tax on any payments from the fund.

Maladministration finding

Capita argued that the delays in producing a transfer value for his pension fund were not unreasonable, with which the ombudsman agreed

However, the company was criticised for failing to keep him updated about the progress of the transfer.

The ombudsman ruled that although this maladministration was unfortunate, it did not contribute to the loss and was not unjust.

Brackley started his QROPS transfer in June 2011, but in April 2012, HMRC delisted more than 300 Guernsey QROPS and from that date only residents on the Channel Island could set up a new QROPS pension.

This unannounced move by HMRC dashed Brackley’s hopes of a QROPS transfer to Guernsey.

AVC issues

Brackley should have received a transfer value for his pension by October 2011, but the period could be extended by six months to January 2012 under special circumstances.

Administrative problems delayed the calculation of the transfer value, the ombudsman ruled.

The ombudsman also pointed out that Brackley may have a second complaint relating to the transfer of Additional Voluntary Contributions alongside his main pension.

“I have not investigated this as it is a separate issue and the decision regarding these contributions does not alter the findings in this case,” said the ombudsman.

QROPS complaints rarely go before the Pension Ombudsman – this case is the only QROPS related matter listed on the ombudsman’s web site

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