The number of enquiries handled by the Pensions Ombudsman's (PO) increased by more than a fifth to over 6,000 during the past financial year, according to its annual report.
The document reveals that complaints about transfers increased from 6% in 2015/16 to 11%, while complaints about overpayment of benefits have increased to 4% from an unspecified amount in 2015/16.
However, the number of pension liberation cases decreased significantly, accounting for just 8% of new investigations compared to 16% in 2015/16.
The ombudsman said despite extra workload, recent reforms have led to 40% of investigations being completed within six months compared with 25% the previous year.
For example, a new team set up to clear unallocated cases has exceeded its target of clearing 40% of these cases by the year end. It is expected that same team will have eliminated the entire backlog between now and the next annual report.
Another measure where people are contacted on the phone directly has led to disputes being resolved more quickly and cut the need for a determination.
The percentage of completed cases that were resolved or the complaint withdrawn has risen from 27% in 2015/16 to 42% in 2016/17, while 70% of disputes are now informally resolved.
PO Anthony Arter explained the reasons behind the increase in enquiries over the past 12 months.
"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 six months - 40% compared with 25% in the previous year."
The institution has implemented measures to adapt to a time of considerable change and they have worked so far.
"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," Arter added.
"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."
The best way to solve disputes and increase confidence in pensions is co-operation.
"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," Arter continued.
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