A retirement saver has won compensation from the Prudential after the firm delayed transferring her pension to a Canada QROPS.
The Pensions Ombudsman made the order after the firm took four months to explain the transfer could not go ahead because the saver – only known as Ms N – had part of her money locked in a suspended property fund.
This was after important transfer documents were overlooked and the firm was ‘inefficient in communications’, said the ombudsman.
Ms N was awarded CAN$37,460 to top her CAN$140,500 fund up to the amount it would now be worth if the transfer had proceeded as planned in June 2016.
Stress and inconvenience
The ombudsman also ordered Prudential to pay her £1,000 for ‘stress and inconvenience’ and any HM Revenue & Customs tax charges.
The company must complete the transfer, but since June 2016, the receiving scheme has delisted and cannot accept the money. Canada now has a single QROPS scheme, which was listed as opening on September 16, 2019.
The ombudsman says Prudential must pay the money into a scheme of Ms N’s choice as soon as possible.
Ombudsman Anthony Arter said: “It is undisputed that Prudential caused delays which amount to maladministration and, as a result, Ms N has suffered a loss. Nevertheless, a resolution has not been found.
“Generally, this would be to put Ms N back into the position that she would have been in, had it not been for Prudential’s maladministration.
“That is because the specific maladministration which occurred here was negligent administration; failing in its duty to efficiently process and ultimately complete a transfer to which Ms N was entitled, and which should have gone through before the opportunity was lost and/or further delayed.”
The ombudsman also pointed out that if Prudential had not delayed the transfer, the property fund would not have been suspended and the receiving scheme would not have delisted.
Ms N complained to the ombudsman after The Pension Advisory Service and Prudential failed to come to an agreement over how much she had lost due to the transfer delay.
QROPS are specialist offshore pensions for British expats and former intentional workers with pension savings left in the UK once they have moved permanently abroad.