March 28, 2024

The case concerned Mr S, who had been an active member of the AFPS from November 3 1988 to February 12 2001, after which he became a deferred member.

He was approached by a representative of the Capita Oak scheme and persuaded to transfer his benefits into it, on the promise of higher returns than he would have enjoyed under the AFPS.

The AFPS received his transfer request in January 2013, and the MoD provided him with a notional transfer value later that same month. 

Although the scheme rules may not provide this, where a court or ombudsman make an order of this nature the trustee has to comply with it, so in that regard you could say that the ombudsman will always trump the rules

James Bingham, Sackers

It subsequently checked that the Capita Oak scheme was registered with HM Revenue & Customs as part of its due diligence checks, but the transfer was then delayed for several months, as Mr S had not provided the MoD with sufficient proof of identification.

In the interim, the Pensions Regulator published updated guidance on scams and transfers, but the MoD did not use the delay as an opportunity to implement the new requirements. It only began implementing them in November 2013, after Mr S’s transfer had been completed.

In August, Mr S provided the MoD with proof that he was in receipt of jobseeker’s allowance, a fact which proved crucial to the Pensions Ombudsman’s determination as it established that the MoD was in possession of information affecting…

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