A gentle reminder to make sure you wind-up old pension schemes

The Deputy Pensions Ombudsman (DPO), Jane Irvine, has ruled against the trustees of a defined contribution scheme that has not completed wind-up after seven years. The Wilson-Kinnair Money Purchase Scheme went into wind-up in July 2006. The complainant contacted JLT to withdraw her pension in 2009, 2010 and 2011 but was repeatedly told that there was still work to be done concerning the winding-up of the scheme. She later took her case to the Ombudsman who found that trustees had not been paying member’s contributions into the scheme since 1994. Instead, the trustees had been keeping them in a bank account.

The DPO held that failing to invest the member’s contributions and to wind up the scheme within the Pensions Regulators expected two year period amounted to trustee maladministration.

Helpful guidance is provided by the Pensions Regulator on how to meet the two year expected time frame in relation to winding up pension schemes.

Key points to remember

  • The regulator expects that where schemes are already in the process of winding-up, Trustees should complete at least the key activities as soon as possible and in any event, complete the process within two years
  • Trustees have a statutory obligation to set out their investment principles and obtain proper advice
  • Trustees should adopt a pragmatic and proportionate approach in order to avoid delays
  • Where not directed to under s.231a of the Pensions Act 2004, parties are still encouraged to have a plan in place to achieve the two-year time frame


This information is intended as a general discussion surrounding the topics covered and is for guidance purposes only. It does not constitute legal advice and should not be regarded as a substitute for taking legal advice. DWF is not responsible for any activity undertaken based on this information.