Helen Morrissey asks what impact the ombudsman's decision to participate in more appeals against its decisions will have
The Pensions Ombudsman's (TPO) decision to participate in more appeals against its decisions has been greeted with much excitement.
While it has been said TPO will look to assist the court in an independent manner rather than choosing to argue one side of the case, any assistance given to courts must be welcomed.
Judges are expected to deliver judgements on a wide variety of different cases, the contents of which they may have little, if any expertise on. With this in mind I think the ombudsman can do a lot of good in highlighting key issues and helping judges come to well informed decisions on pension cases.
I think the ombudsman can do a lot of good in highlighting key issues and helping judges come to well informed decisions on pension cases.
Pensions liberation has long been a difficult area for the industry and the lack of clarity over the law surrounding transfers has not helped. The final judgement in the Hughes vs. Royal London case was met with dismay as it became so much harder to trustees to deny transfer requests to suspect schemes.
Ombudsman intervention may not have changed the judgement in this case but I am sure that over time the increased interaction will raise awareness of key issues to be considered and we may see a change in stance.
It is expected TPO will only intervene in select cases and so we must not expect too much. However, any assistance the ombudsman can give in these difficult cases has to be a good thing.
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