sion Ombudsman has rejected a customer’s complaint that accused Standard Life of misleading him about the value of his pension plan.
The complainant, identified only as Mr. E, had claimed that information provided by the insurer led him unintentionally to exceed his lifetime allowance, the Financial Times
The report said the retiree had a defined contribution pension with the company, along with two separate self-invested personal pensions (SIPPs).
Mr. E claimed being told by Standard Life that the value of his guaranteed minimum pension (GMP) was included in his pension pot.
The supposed misinformation from the insurer made Mr. E believe that he had not hit his lifetime allowance. In reality, however, he had.
When he wanted to put one of his Sipps into drawdown, Standard Life discovered that Mr. E had exceeded his lifetime allowance. He was then slapped with a tax bill.
According to Financial Times,
an adjudicator at the ombudsman found that it was “not reasonable to assume that the final plan value included the GMP.”
The adjudicator also found the additional contributions made to the pensioner’s Sipps “were as a result of Mr E’s own misunderstanding of the statements.”
The adjudicator also noted that Mr. E did not contact his financial adviser, who could have clarified matters for him.
Deputy pension ombudsman Karen Johnston said she was “not persuaded that the ‘final plan value’ provided in the retirement benefit illustrations were misleading.”
Johnston said she saw no basis to hold Standard Life responsible for Mr. E’s misunderstanding.
“I find that on the balance of probabilities he acted in reliance on his own interpretation of what final plan value meant and how it could be used when he invested additional monies into the Sipps,” the Financial Times
quoted her as saying.
“Ultimately this led him to exceed the lifetime allowance and pay the tax liability for doing so.”
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