The number of pension gripes from retirement savers has soared by a fifth over the past year.
Complaint figures from the Pension Ombudsman show more than 6,000 inquiries were made about retirement saving, which have led to 1,333 investigations – a similar number to the year before.
Complaints were made at a rate of more than 16 a day during the year to April 5, 2017.
Seven out of 10 cases went to informal resolution, with the rest leading to an ombudsman decision.
Of these, the ombudsman upheld around a third, says the ombudsman’s annual report.
Pension liberation claims ease
Fewer pension liberation cases were received – 8% of all new investigations, compared with 16% the year before.
Meanwhile, the number of complaints about how transfer values were calculated or claw-back of overpaid benefits increased.
Investigations took an average 10 months, with 40% ended in six months compared to 25% in the previous year.
The ombudsman dropped complaints for two main reasons – either they fell outside of the time limit for bringing the case or the consumer failed to try to settle the issue with the provider or adviser.
Anthony Arter, the Pensions Ombudsman, said: “We have had another busy year with a 22% increase in enquiries. This is perhaps a result of the increasing awareness of the value of pensions and the difficulty in understanding whether the rules, and/or legislation, has been applied correctly.
“In spite of the increase in the volume of enquiries and accepted investigations, with the introduction of new working practices a higher proportion of investigations are now completed within 6 months – 40% compared with 25% in the previous year.
“The past year was a time of consolidating our new approach for the resolution of disputes, 70% of which are now informally resolved. This approach is also aligned with our communication strategy to ensure that the customer journey is further improved. Another strategic development has been our increased focus on stakeholder engagement – in particular with the large public sector schemes, insurance companies and others involved in the pension industry.
“By working together pension disputes can be resolved much earlier in the process which can enhance the publics’ trust in pension saving and in the providers, this is surely what we all want to achieve.”