The Pensions Ombudsman (TPO) will become the hub for all pensions dispute resolutions as it plans to subsume The Pensions Advisory Service's (TPAS) team.
The consolidation of the two bodies' teams, revealed by Professional Pensions last August, was today confirmed will take effect by 1 April.
More than 350 of TPAS' volunteer advisers will join TPO in the transfer, with the ombudsman then dealing with both pre- and post-internal dispute resolution procedure (IDRP) complaints.
The move is designed to reduce duplication, improve customer experience, and make signposting easier. TPAS said it would continue to focus on pension information and guidance ahead of its upcoming merger with the Money Advice Service and Pension Wise.
Ombudsman Anthony Arter said centralisation of the services would improve customer service.
"We have been working with TPAS to create one centre for the resolution of pension disputes helping to ensure a simpler and quicker customer journey," he said. "I am delighted to welcome the dispute resolution team and its network of volunteers to TPO. We have worked with the team for many years and recognise the excellent customer service which they deliver."
TPAS chief executive Michelle Cracknell added: "It is imperative that customers get the help that they need with their pensions and it easy for them to find it. We have been working with TPO to ensure that customers find the right place to get the help that they need and for both organisations to move customers seamlessly between the services to ensure that the customer gets the right help."
In its annual report published last July, TPO revealed around 70% of disputes were resolved informally before the body adjudicated on the matter. At the time, Arter said disputes could be resolved earlier "by working together".
Pensions and financial inclusion minister Guy Opperman said the consolidated service would boost consumer confidence in pensions.
"Confidence in private pensions is key to delivering our commitment of greater financial security for everyone in retirement," he said. "The decision to transfer disputes resolution work to TPO will both simplify how these complaints are handled, but should also give savers the confidence that their disputes will be resolved as quickly as possible."
In December, TPO and the Financial Ombudsman Service renewed a commitment to co-operation and exchange of complaints information, while ensuring customers are directed to the right service.
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