Financial Ombudsman v Pension Ombudsman

Published / Last Updated on 09/07/2020

Yesterday, a hearing was held by the Work and Pensions select committee in connection with the fact that there are two Ombudsman services that oversea pensions and their approach to decisions is different.

Anthony Arter, Pensions Ombudsman, believes the current overlap with the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) and Pension Ombudsman should be looked at as it is confusing and not satisfactory.

Mr Arter was asked to comment on his concerns by Desmond Swayne Conservative MP.  Mr Arter suggested that different standards used and the powers the two ombudsman bodies hold were conflicting and risk abuse buy complainants.

  • The Financial Ombudsman makes decisions on a subjective, fair and reasonable basis and limited in awarding monies currently up to £350,000. 
  • The Pensions Ombudsman makes decisions on a judicial bass, in part having potentially large sums of money involved in its determinations and can amount to tens of billions of pounds.

Merging the two, would mean decisions needing to be made on a subjective basis or judicially based.  Back in 2013/14 the two did try to merge but failed. 


Some complaints can be decided by both bodies but there are overlaps and clearly open to abuse if you believe you will get a better result approaching one ombudsman service rather than the other.  We do not like 'subjective' decisions, it should be made on fact and the law.  It is why the Financial Ombudsman service receives millions of complaints every year as many complainants and claims management companies abuse a flawed system that is so weighted towards the consumer that financial advisers struggle to even secure insurance at anything other than gigantic premiums.

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