Page last updated at 08:41 GMT, Wednesday, 1 July 2009 09:41 UK

Private pension problems increase

Pensioners protest outside Parliament
Complaints about occupational schemes dropped

Problems with personal pensions drove a 10% increase in complaints to the Pensions Advisory Service (TPAS) in the past financial year ending in March.

The government funded body dealt with 7,746 complaints, up from 7,026 the previous year.

It said poor administration by pension providers was mainly to blame, leading to both mistakes and delays.

However the number of complaints about occupational pension schemes dropped by 2% during the year.

"Many savers had experienced significant reductions in the value of their pension savings from continuing stock market falls and delays in obtaining an annuity quote or award often meant a further reduction in the pension eventually secured," said Malcolm McLean, chief executive of TPAS.

He said a lot of the complaints about delays were due to the problems insurance companies had in integrating their systems after merging or being taken over.

Mistakes and errors generated a lot of complaints.

"They resulted, not only in some instances in a loss of expectation, but actual financial loss when expenditure or commitments had been entered into in the belief that a pension award or lump sum was correct when, as it later transpired, it was not," Mr McLean said.

The service dealt with 75,000 phone calls and 12,500 letters.

There was a clear increase in questions about the security of pension schemes and pension companies

TPAS gives free information to the public about pension matters.



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