Pensions have rarely been out of the news in the last few years, thanks to big changes to the pensions landscape such as auto enrolment and pension freedoms. Auto enrolment has seen millions more people saving for retirement while pension freedoms has given pension savers much more choice over what they do with their pension pots. This has also led to the potential rise in pension complaints against advisers thanks to the wider variety of options on offer.
However, new figures from the Financial Ombudsman Service reveal that since the introduction of pension freedoms in 2015, they have received fewer than 15,000 complaints involving pensions. Of this figure, just 1,700 have been about pension freedoms and around 300 of these complaints were about defined benefit (DB) transfers.
Caroline Wayman, chief ombudsman and chief executive of the Financial Ombudsman Service, said: "Most financial advisers I meet – and indeed most financial advisers – haven't ever had a complaint. As long as advisers continue to treat their customers fairly, it's likely to stay that way."
Edwin Schooling Latter, the Financial Conduct Authority's acting markets and wholesale policy director, said: "We have maintained our general advice to presume that transfers are not in the best interest of consumers. While transfers will be suitable for some, there is a risk of considerable consumer detriment in this area. We have therefore increasingly focused our attention on making sure that people who are considering transferring their money out of a DB pension pot get the right advice."
Steve Webb, director of policy at Royal London, said: "As old-style DB pensions become rarer in the private sector, individuals increasingly have to take more responsibility for their own retirement planning and face greater uncertainty about the future."