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Pensions Ombudsman
HPPA has been supporting several members to challenge HP on discretionary increases for members of the Digital section of the HP Plan. This challenge was through the Pensions Ombudsman Service.


Ian Young, with others, made an application to the Pensions Ombudsman, looking for support in a challenge to HP management’s interpretation of Discretion in awarding pension increases - that application failed.

Nigel Bains is another of the pensioners who made an application, and he says "My Application to the Ombudsman was against both HP and the Trustees. I felt that, certainly under both Digital and Compaq, there had been an established custom of granting discretionary increases to pensions in payment, based on financial affordability."

I certainly feel disappointed by the decision, and feel let down by the process. Many pension scheme rules do guarantee discretionary increases but the Digital scheme does not.  So, in the end, we have to accept the decision."

The team spent many hours researching past practice, and produced communications from Digital and historical Trustee Annual Reports in support of the claims, which confirmed that this was the intention. In the end, the Ombudsman decided that there was no such established practice, that HP are not obliged to provide discretionary increases, and that the wording of the Pension Fund Trust Deed supports HP's practice. No real mention was made of the evidence HPPA produced.

Following these Pensions Ombudsman determinations, our recommendation is that all Digital deferred pensioners should consult a qualified Pensions/Financial Advisor before drawing a pension from HP.



Nigel Bain’s full Determination from the Ombudsman is available here


A very personal account of what it was like to challenge HP through the Pensions Ombudsman process, from Peter Reindorp is available  here 


The conference note from Councils opinion can be found here


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