Standard Life wins transfer claim case

Standard Life wins transfer claim case

The Pensions Ombudsman has rejected a complaint against the trustees of the Standard Life Staff Pension Scheme, after a staff member claimed he had lost out on a proposed pension transfer.

The complainant, Mr Y, claimed Standard Life would not offer a second cash equivalent transfer value statement (CETV) within twelve months, despite him offering to pay for it.

By the time he received a second CETV, he complained that the transfer value had dropped.

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Mr Y’s complaint referred to a request he first sent in August 2016.

He received a CETV showing a transfer value of £99,612.44. This calculation would expire if the pension administrators, Mercer, did not receive a written application for transfer by 14 November. 

The letter stated that he could not receive another CETV until August the following year, but Mr Y said he thought this only applied to free valuations.

He requested a second CETV after using Standard Life’s online portal, which gave an online estimate of £114,396, in the September. However, Mercer would not give him a second CETV in the 12 month period. 

Mr Y complained that this was an unfair policy and complained to trustees. The next month the trustees implemented a ‘transfer amnesty” for all members who had not appreciated that they could only have one CETV a year.

However they replied to Mr Y in February 2017 saying that they could not be held responsible for market conditions that change transfer values.

In March Mr Y used the online calculator again and generated an estimated transfer value of £108,089.

He then complained to the Pensions Ombudsman that the trustees should honour the higher online estimate from September 2016.

An adjudicator found in favour of the trustees, but Mr Y appealed, so the claim was passed to the Ombudsman.

Deputy pensions ombudsman Karen Johnston said:  “Given the circumstances, I am unable to conclude that the trustees’ refusal to allow Mr Y a new CETV, outside the transfer amnesty, was perverse or outside the range of reasonable outcomes that could have been reached.”

The adjudication follows a similar case in April, where a Standard Life scheme member complained that the trustees should honour an online quotation that was significantly higher than the CETV he had originally requested.

In this case Ms Johnston also found that there was no further action required of the trustees.