Pensions Ombudsman  

Former Mas chief lands role at ombudsman

Former Mas chief lands role at ombudsman

Caroline Rookes (pictured) has been appointed as interim chairwoman at the Pensions Ombudsman, as the organisation responds to recommendations made in a recent review from the DWP.

Chief executive of the Money Advice Service between 2013 and 2017, Ms Rookes was recently in charge of conducting the independent review into the British Steel Pension Scheme transfer debacle.

In her new role Ms Rookes will help to set up a board structure to reflect the organisation’s transformation, both in terms of size and the complexity of its work, which was a recommendation in the DWP's recent review of the service.

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TPO has expanded over the last four years from a small organisation with some 40 staff to a service that now includes an early resolution function and a headcount of 111.  

Guy Opperman, minister for Pensions and Financial Inclusion, noted Ms Rookes brings “formidable expertise” and said he was looking forward to working with her “to champion pension members’ rights”.

Between 2005 to 2013 Ms Rookes was director of private pensions at the Department for Work and Pensions, where she had regular dealings with the Pensions Ombudsman and other pensions arms-length bodies.

Pensions Ombudsman Anthony Arter said: “The Pensions Ombudsman has undergone an extensive transformation over the last few years and Caroline’s [Rookes] breadth of experience will help us to take it to the next level, ensuring we can continue to improve dispute resolution for our customers and the pensions industry.” 

Ms Rookes added: “I look forward to working with Anthony [Arter] and his team to improve still further this important service for pension customers.”

The DWP report had recently alerted that consumers could manipulate the outcome and awards they receive from TPO and the Financial Ombudsman Service by choosing to bring their claim to the right one.

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