In our August 2008 Pensions update, we reported that the Deputy Pensions Ombudsman had ordered the administrators of a wound-up pension scheme, who had lost all records of a member’s contributions, to compensate the member by putting him in the position he would have been in had he been part of the bulk transfer on the winding-up of the scheme.
Mr Tyler was a deferred member whose details disappeared from the membership records at some point before the plan was wound up. When Mr Tyler came to think about his retirement benefits and contacted the administrators of the scheme, he was told that most active and deferred members had transferred their benefits to a personal pension when winding up of the plan had completed in 1997. Royal Sun Alliance (RSA) had bought out the remaining benefits. RSA in turn informed Mr Tyler that they had no record on their files or systems that his benefits had been transferred to them from the plan. By the time Mr Tyler became aware that there was a problem, the plan had been wound up, apparently without his benefits being secured. The Deputy Pensions Ombudsman held that the plan should have been fully wound up only after all pension liabilities had been fully secured.
The Deputy Pension Ombudsman ordered the administrators to put Mr Tyler in the position he would have been in had he been part of the bulk buyout. The Deputy Pensions Ombudsman also added that the annuity should be based on the same terms and conditions secured for those members of the plan whose benefits at the date of winding up of the plan were bought out with RSA.
Comment: This case serves as a warning to both administrators and trustees of the importance of good record keeping and came at the time that the Pensions Regulator launched its consultation on its good record keeping guidance, which has since been published.
View the Regulator’s record keeping guidance.