At your side and on your side
Congruent’s actuarial consultants are experts in the complaint handling of pension and investment products. Our team includes recognised experts in the industry for their specialism in financial complaints and disputes. We can resolve the complex issues regularly associated with pension complaints and any redress/compensation due for misadvised or missold financial advice.
Congruent is the only actuarial firm that can help you with your pension complaint*. Our consultants have over 20 years of industry experience assisting individuals and businesses with their financial services and product complaints. Congruent has been providing a claims management service and redress calculation solutions for over 5 years.
The customer does not have to use Congruent to progress its pension complaint. It’s possible to present the claim themselves, and free of charge, directly to the firm they are complaining about or the relevant statutory ombudsman or compensation scheme.
Alternatively, they can use a specialist claims management company, such as Congruent, who understand the complexities surrounding pensions and complaints – a ‘no win, no fee’ option may also be available following an assessment of the case. The purpose of the assessment is that, on average across all claims, the fees will be the same as if we charged fees according to our standard basis of hourly charges appropriate to the level of staff required to carry out the work plus any necessary disbursements that have been agreed in advance. Our director level fees are £225 per hour (in 2020) and other levels are at lower rates. The assessment factors are Documentation, Technical, Merits, Uncertainty, Delivery, Recovery, Client, Liability and we are happy to provide additional details on request.
Termination fees may apply depending on your circumstances and your contractual arrangement with us. The method by which termination fees will be determined is hourly charges appropriate to the level of staff required to carry out the work plus any necessary disbursements that have been agreed in advance. Our director level fees are £225 per hour (in 2020) and other levels are at lower rates.
* Congruent Actuarial Limited is the only claims management company included in the list of actuarial firms published by the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries.
Individuals have a need for independent financial advice when it concerns arrangements to be made for future pensions. This is particularly true for pension transfers where there is a regulatory requirement for anyone who wishes to convert safeguarded benefits that are worth more than £30,000, e.g. a defined benefit pension, to a flexible arrangement, e.g. those provided by a personal pensions plan (SIPP). Unfortunately, not all financial advice is compliant and poor advice may lead to a significant loss for the individual.
Speak to one of our consultants (contact us) for a no obligation and confidential chat about your pension complaint and we will advise you on the best course of action.
DB pension transfer complaint
In a recent study the Financial Conduct Authority (“FCA”) determined that only 47% of pension transfer advice was suitable – which prompted it to launch a consultation on pension transfers. This resulted in the FCA changing the rules concerning advice on pension transfers with safeguarded benefits. As well as the adviser requiring specialist qualifications, the FCA changed the rules around the Transfer Value analysis and the Critical Yield calculation and now requires advice firms to undertake:
- Appropriate Pension Transfer Analysis (“APTA”). Advice on giving up safeguarded benefits based on the individual client’s circumstances taking into account the differences between the benefits offered by the ceding scheme and the benefits being considered as an alternative to that scheme, irrespective of how those benefits are taken.
- Transfer Value Comparator (“TVC”). This is part of the APTA and involves a projection of the ceding scheme benefits to normal retirement age and the estimated cost of purchasing those benefits then using an annuity.
Where there is non-compliant advice the respondent is required to offer redress to the individual. This involves the determination of “lost” safeguarded benefits – this is an actuarial calculation. Congruent is able to provide advice on the compliance of the advice and on the quantum of loss. In particular, we have developed a dedicated redress calculation service.
SIPP investment complaint
When it comes to investing money held in a Self Invested Personal Pension (SIPP) platform advice is not always obtained by the individual (as there is no mandatory requirement). Some reliance is placed by the individual on the FCA-regulated SIPP administrator to provide the necessary due diligence on the permitted investments. Not all administrators perform the required due diligence – this has been highlighted in a recent high court decision where a complaint about a Financial Ombudsman decision was not upheld by the High Court (Berkeley Burke, SIPP administrators).
This pension complaint service is provided under Congruent’s general terms and conditions of engagement for financial products and services complaints which is available from our website under Financial Disputes.
I was advised to transfer out of my pension scheme into a high risk fund. This was an unsuitable transfer as I am a cautious investor.
Clearly your adviser is culpable as he did not explain that the transfer was to a high risk fund.
I was told that I should transfer my pensions pot to a Personal Pension policy. This turned out to be poor advice because of the high Personal Pension expense charges.
You have cause for complaint. The adviser must explain the charges to enable you to make an informed decision whether or not to transfer your pensions pot.
I was advised to transfer into a Personal Pension policy. When my pensions arrangements were reviewed I was advised to transfer my Personal Pension into a new Personal Pension policy.
This sounds very much like a churned transfer. You can complain and your adviser will have to give a very good reason for his recommendation to transfer you to the new Personal Pension policy.
When I was advised to transfer my pensions pot I was not told that a critical yield of 7.2% was required to make the transfer viable. Can I complain about this?
Yes, you can. It was incumbent on your adviser to tell you about the critical yield. Without this information you are not put in an informed position to decide whether you should make the transfer.
I have heard in the news that pensions drawdown is the way ahead. Is this likely to be the right course for me?
You should think hard to decide if drawdown might be right for you. The disadvantage is that these pensions arrangements are expensive to run and can be justified only in the case of a large fund. Furthermore you have to consider the critical yield required to make the drawdown viable as an alternative to an annuity.
I have several defined contribution pension finds acquired as I changed jobs during my career. Is it a good idea to transfer them all into just one fund.
This is not necessarily a panacea for an improved pension overall. You may well be better off with your several different funds. You should seek qualified independent advice.