Pensions Ombudsman  

Dominic Harris confirmed as new Pensions Ombudsman

Dominic Harris confirmed as new Pensions Ombudsman

The Department for Work and Pensions has confirmed CMS partner Dominic Harris as the next Pensions Ombudsman.

Harris will take on the role from January 16 2023, replacing Anthony Arter who will remain in post until January 15, the DWP said.

Besides being a partner in CMS’s pensions team, Harris also serves as chair of the Investment and Defined Contribution Committee of the Association of Pension Lawyers.

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Pensions minister Guy Opperman said: “I am pleased to announce Dominic Harris as the new Pensions Ombudsman and wish to express my thanks to Anthony for his service in the role.

“Dominic’s previous experience makes him the ideal candidate to lead the service.”

Harris added: “The ombudsman has a key role to play in ensuring access to justice in the pensions arena, and I am proud to be able to continue the good work of Anthony and his team at the organisation.”

Harris’s appointment was approved by the Work and Pensions Committee in July.

In a report, the MPs said they were satisfied that Harris “has the personal independence and professional competence” to take on the role.

In a hearing with the committee on July 13, Harris said he would look to improve customer satisfaction and the backlog that the ombudsman is currently facing if appointed to the position.

Previous to Harris’s appointment, Arter saw his term extended by one year in July 2021 after no suitable candidates had been found for the role.

FTAdviser's sister publication Pensions Expert reported in February that the DWP subsequently amended its hiring criteria for the role, removing the requirement that any candidate applying must be a legally qualified solicitor or barrister.

During Arter’s tenure, the Pensions Ombudsman has undergone significant growth and taken on new responsibilities, such as absorbing the dispute resolution function of the Pensions Advisory Service.

Maria Espadinha is editor of Pensions Expert, FTAdviser's sister publication