The Pensions Ombudsman (PO) has dismissed a complaint against Royal London over its decision to turn down a transfer request into a suspected pension liberation scheme.
Donna-Marie Hughes had sought to transfer her £8,360 personal pension into the Babbacombe Road 1973 Limited SSAS, which was registered with HM Revenue and Customs in July 2014.
Hughes would have become a trustee under the rules of the receiving scheme, which she was introduced to after being cold called by a Derby-based company known as First Review Pension Services.
Royal London initially refused her request in September 2014 amid concerns that any payments to the receiving scheme would not be used for the purposes of providing pension benefits.
The complaint was brought by Bespoke Pension Services Limited, which Hughes had also been introduced to during her call with First Review Pension Services.
Hughes argued that it was unjust for Royal London to refuse her right to transfer, and sought compensation for any investment losses suffered as a result.
Although PO Anthony Arter (pictured) found that Babbacombe Road 1973 Limited was an occupational pension scheme, he said Hughes had no statutory right to a transfer.
This was because she had not received any remuneration as an employee of any employer connected to the scheme.
Records held at Companies House showed the address of the principal employer was Hughes' home, but the nature of the business was unclear and no accounts had been filed.
The decision follows recent figures from the PO, which revealed a 240% surge in pension liberation investigations over the past 12 months.
Commenting on the latest decision, Arter said: "It is clear from its recent review that Royal London considered there was no statutory right and then went on to assess whether it should nevertheless exercise a discretion to transfer. Having done so, it then exercised its discretion in a way it was entitled to under the rules of the scheme.
"Royal London, though, did not ever explain its decision to Miss Hughes in those terms - as it has accepted during its recent review. If it had done so, it might have made Miss Hughes reconsider her transfer request or at least take further independent advice on her position.
"Having completed its due diligence and concluded that there was no right to transfer it should have been able to justify that to Miss Hughes.
"I find that Royal London's decision not to pay the transfer value was consistent with the law. I do not uphold Miss Hughes' complaint."
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