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Pensions & annuities

pensions and annuities claims

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  • Overview
  • See Our 10 Simple Steps

Due to the changes in pension arrangements over the last twenty years, more and more people now have a personal pension rather than a company pension.  This change has meant that anyone with a personal pension is reliant on the scheme growing in value at the right rate with the right level of charges to ensure that, when it matures, it pays out the annual value of pension they expected when they took it out.

Advice from professional financial advisors is critical in ensuring that their clients take out the right type of personal pension to suit their future needs.  Equally important is ensuring that clients do not move inappropriately from the safety of a company pension scheme to a more risky personal scheme.  Yet more than a million people are thought to have been incorrectly advised to take out personal pension plans when they would have been better off in their existing company scheme.

If you took out a personal pension between 29 April 1988 and 30 June 1994, you may still be entitled to receive compensation if you were:

  • advised to opt out of your company pension scheme and take out a personal pension
  • wrongly excluded from the pension review as your firm advised you that you were not eligible
  • sold an investment without having been properly advised of the risks
  • sold a pension without your advisor properly considering your personal circumstances or attitude to risk
  • sold a SIPP or poor returning annuity
  • sold a pension that is worth little more or less than the contributions paid into it
  • sold a guaranteed investment plan or bond and, although you received your money back, you may have lost many years’ worth of interest

The growth in personal pensions has now given rise to a further issue that can significantly affect pension payouts – the mis-selling of annuities. The annuity is the insurance plan you buy once you retire and its performance has a significant impact on how much pension you receive each year.  In 2014 The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) undertook an investigation into the way that annuities are bought and sold, which has resulted in far reaching recommendations.

The mis-selling of annuities covers a variety of practices, however here are just a few examples of what is happening today.

  • Annuities are often bought from the insurance company a customer has saved with and the company makes far more money out of them than from annuities it sells to savers from elsewhere. The FCA has indicated that there is a risk that insures would try to unfairly migrate their savings customers to their own annuity products to maximise their own profits
  • There are early indications that insurers and brokers have taken advantage of their clients by charging them excessive commissions and keeping them in the dark about what was available on the open market
  • Many annuity providers to do not offer better terms to clients who are ill or smoke and are likely to live for fewer years.  As a result, they make the most money from people who die younger as the annuity payments stop when the client dies.
  • Those with the smallest pension pots usually only have a handful of annuity providers to choose from, so they get the worst deals
  • Once you buy an annuity, you can’t change your mind and shop around. With around 420,000 annuities sold each year, around 80% of people with an average pension pot are left worse off every year.

We can help

If you believe you have been wrongly advised about your personal pension or that you have not been offered fair terms for your annuity by your pension company, then we can help.

Throughout your claim, Your Legal Friend will help you every step of the way

  • Specialist team of professional negligence solicitors
  • A wealth of knowledge and expertise
  • Advice, support and guidance throughout your claim
  • Over 30 years’ experience in personal injury compensation

Talk to us today

For an informal, confidential chat with one of our expert professional negligence solicitors, call us now on 01515505228 (calls free from landlines and mobiles). Or just complete the 'Start a new claim’ option on the right and we'll call you straight back.

Professional negligence process

Here are the 6 simple steps to making a professional negligence claims.

Step 1

We will contact your professional on your behalf and notify them of your intention to bring a claim; setting out a brief outline of your grievance. We will, at the same time and if necessary, request any file of papers that belong to you and review these to ensure your case is strong enough to proceed.

Step 2

Professional negligence claims are controlled by a number of protocols which, in essence, allows the parties involved to understand and properly identify the issues in dispute and share information and relevant documents. The protocols allow us, on your behalf, to set out in writing, within what is called a Letter of Claim, the grounds for bringing a claim against the defendant professional. The Letter of Claim sets out the allegations against the professional; what has been done wrong or not been done. Once the professional has acknowledged the Letter of Claim, they have a period of 3 months in which to investigate the allegations against them.

Step 3

Professional negligence cases are usually won only if they have the support of favourable, independent experts. It may be that more than one expert, in more than one field, is required to support your case.

Step 4

We’ll draft and prepare a detailed ‘Witness evidence’ statement in accordance with your instructions. This document is very important and is be signed by a Statement of Truth.

Step 5

It might be necessary to issue court proceedings if your case doesn’t settle. The claim is issued at court and the defendant has a limited amount of time to respond, either accepting or denying responsibility. Both sides will disclose all the documents relating to the claim, and expert evidence and witness statements will be exchanged. The trial date will then be listed. However very few cases ever go to trial; most are resolved by negotiation and are settled pre-trial. We will aim to achieve this in all cases.

Step 6

If the case does proceed to trial, a date will be fixed once details of all parties’ availability have been provided to the court. The trial will likely take place before a Circuit or High Court Judge who will make a decision on the evidence of your cases.

How long does a claim take?

Because the circumstances surrounding every claim and their effects are different, it’s very difficult to give a definitive answer on how long it takes to settle a claim.  Often it depends on how quickly our clients provide us with essential information, how quickly we can get medical records and assessments, and whether the insurance companies are willing to provide realistic offers to settle the claims.

Whilst we aim to settle your claim as quickly as possible, we also want to ensure we secure the maximum compensation for you.  This often means we have to do some hard negotiation with the defendants – which takes extra time.  Our aim is to balance progressing the claim as fast as possible with getting you the maximum settlement.

We realise that you’ll be keen to know about the progress of your claim so we will send you regular emails and texts to keep you up to date, and also to remind you if there is any information we’re waiting for from you.