UK Pensions Ombudsman

The UK Pensions Ombudsman does not have the statutory limitations of only being able to deal with complaints where the Trustee has made a decision that is within power of the Trust Deed and Rules but which the Complainant alleges to have been unfair or unreasonable.

The UK Pensions Ombudsman also publishes all determination on the Ombudsman’s website so these determinations are publicly available at http://www.pensions-ombudsman.org.uk/.

The determinations can be searched so that there is transparency of the decision making process.

The determinations of the Australian Superannuation Complaints Tribunal whether made legally within power of the Superannuation (Resolution of Complaints) Act 1993 or made ultra vires of the Act are not published and are only accessible by means of the Freedom of Information Act 1982.

Furthermore since the Tribunal has no statutory power to deal with complaints that allege underpayment of benefits in Breach of Trust, there is no transparency how the Tribunal has processed these complaints. Section 64 of the Superannuation (Resolution of Complaints) Act 1993 requires the Tribunal Chairperson to “give particulars” of alleged contraventions of “any law or governing rule” to APRA and/or ASIC, however only a token number of such complaints are referred as required by Section 64.

The separation of powers doctrine under the Commonwealth of Australia Constitution Act prevents the Superannuation Complaints Tribunal from dealing with alleged contraventions of the law. This limitation does not apply in the United Kingdom since the UK does not have a written constitution.

Following the enactment of the  Superannuation Industry (Supervision) Legislation Amendment Act 1995 No.144, 1995  the Tribunal no longer has the statutory power to deal with complaints that involve a Trustee exceeding its power or misusing its power as is the case in a Breach of Trust where a benefit has not been determined strictly in accordance with the Trust Deed and Governing Rules of the Fund.

There is a large void in the current regulatory framework for Australia’s $ 1 Trillion Government Regulated Superannuation System which some Trustees are exploiting to the detriment of the Members of the Funds they are meant to serve.

In the United Kingdom there is also the Pensions Protection Fund and complaints can be lodged alleging maleadministration of a pension fund. The Application form is shown here.

The UK Pensions Regulator has produced a standard syllabus to meet the requirements of the Pension Act 2004 and provides and on-line tool kit to help Trustees  achieve the required level of knowledge and understanding introduced in the Pensions Act 2004.

There are no similar initiatives by Government Agencies in Australia to educate either Trustees or Members and Beneficiaries.

Because the Superannuation Complaints Tribunal does not have the statutory power to deal with allegations of underpayments due to Breach of Trust the Tribunal Chairperson is supposed to “give particulars” of suspected contravention of “any law or governing rule” to APRA and/or ASIC so that the allegations can be further investigated and legal action in the courts then taken if necessary. However virtually no Referral Notices under Section 64 are issued to APRA and/or ASIC so all allegations of Breach of Trust are filed into the wastepaper bin.

The role of Australian Guardians is to fill this void and to assist Members who have had large amounts of their superannuation stolen by fraudulent Trustees who have been assisted by corrupt Public Servants. Why should serious allegation where large amounts may have been stolen from Members after years or decades of loyal service be just thrown into the wastepaper bin by Public Servants who themselves have secure taxpayer funded superannuation benefits?

Australian Guardians – Protecting your wealth when no one else will®

 

 

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