Let's talk
Pensions bulletin

Pensions Bulletin 2024/24

Pensions & benefits Policy & regulation ESG

Pensions Ombudsman tightens up dealing with complaints

In a follow up to an earlier announcement about changes to how the Pensions Ombudsman’s office works (see Pensions Bulletin 2024/21), the Pensions Ombudsman himself has now made clear that going forwards, before the Resolution Team at the Ombudsman take on a complaint, the complainant will need to have exhausted the respondent’s formal complaints process, such as the internal dispute resolution process (IDRP) that most occupational pension schemes are required to operate.

This change is in response to the ever-growing caseload the Ombudsman is facing. It also brings the conditions for the Resolution Team investigating a complaint on an informal basis in line with those of the Adjudication Team that investigates complaints on a formal basis.

Volunteer advisers that operate under the aegis of the Ombudsman’s office will continue to offer their support to individuals prior to, or during, the IDRP process.

Further blogs are promised over the coming months that will highlight specific aspects of how the Ombudsman’s office will work in the future.


The operation of the Resolution Team is a throwback to when in 2018 the Pensions Advisory Service moved its informal dispute resolution function to the Ombudsman’s office (see Pensions Bulletin 2018/07).  This latest decision is a proportionate response to the very high caseload the Ombudsman has to deal with, whilst ensuring that should a complaint still come to his office, the informal means of dealing with it is still very much available.  

SPP’s practical guide to ESG published

The Society of Pension Professionals has published a guide to help trustees of occupational pension schemes engage with their asset managers on Environmental, Social and Governance issues.

The short guide builds on its 2023 ESG guide and provides the following:

  • An outline of the various regulatory ESG disclosure requirements that apply to trustees;
  • ESG disclosure obligations for asset managers, some of which are coming into force during 2024;
  • Checklists of the information that trustees need from their asset managers with links to other resources;
  • A section on how trustees should engage with asset managers on ESG issues, focussing on the need to have a set of responsible investment principles and to then design and implement a responsible investment strategy; and
  • An explanation of the role of the trustees’ investment consultant in ESG matters.  


With so many developments in this area in recent times, it is easy to lose sight of what needs to be done, by when and its underlying rationale. This accessible guide provides a very useful run through the various requirements and expectations as well as serving as an excellent introduction to the topic.

PASA updates its guidance on master trust transitions

The Pensions Administration Standards Association has announced that it has published updated guidance on the transition of DC pension savers to master trusts. Replacing guidance issued in November 2019, the latest guidance focuses on the two most common scenarios of (a) employers moving to a new master trust as a result of the current master trust winding up and (b) single employer trusts moving to a master trust.

Topics covered include planning the transition, communication, data and asset transition and industry developments. The guidance also includes model migration project plans. PASA says that the guidance is designed to support trustees, employers and administrators in completing an accurate and timely project.


The guidance acknowledges in passing that a ‘secondary market’ is developing in which employers consider whether to switch from one master trust to another, with the potential for accumulated assets to be transferred as part of this.  However, it doesn’t directly address this type of transfer.  Hopefully it will do so in a future edition.