Hogan Lovells

Key Dates

Determination issued 22 March 2017


Summary

The Ombudsman found there was no duty on the trustees to continue to inform retired members of changes to normal pension age or calculation basis for transfers; a claim by ex-spouse of a retired member that this might be relevant to couples who were divorcing was rejected.

Background

Mrs Y complained that she was misinformed regarding the age at which she would be able to access an unreduced share of her ex-husband's pension, on obtaining a pension sharing order. Mrs Y claimed that they went ahead with their divorce in 2015, having relied on information provided by the scheme in 2004 that she could receive an unreduced pension at age 63.5 (earlier than the normal pension age of 65).

 Mrs Y also claimed that the Cash Equivalent Transfer Value (CETV) quote sent on 30 March 2015 was invalid, as the basis for calculations had changed by April 2015, after she had received the quotewith the result that, once the pension sharing order had been implemented, the final CETV calculations were lower. She claimed she should have been informed of this change.

Determination

The Ombudsman dismissed the complaint.

The scheme had no duty to notify Professor Y of the change to normal pensionable age in 2011, as he had retired 14 years before the change was implemented. This information was stated on the March 2015 quotation's covering letter and was readily available on the scheme's website. The scheme was also not obliged to inform Professor Y that the basis for CETVs was changing, because the initial March quotation had stated it was only an illustration, and would be recalculated when the Decree Absolute (finalising the divorce) was granted by the court.

The trustees had a fiduciary duty to ensure the scheme was being managed in accordance with the scheme rules, which includes ensuring the calculation basis for transfers was suitable. 



Date Accessed: 28/05/2022