The Pensions Ombudsman has rejected a case arguing members of the Armed Forces Pension Scheme were misled into the assumption benefits would always be linked to RPI.
The complainant, Mr Clarke, brought the case after the government switched all public service pension increases from the Retail Prices Index to the less generous Consumer Prices Index.
Clarke claimed scheme documentation had assured him his benefits would always be linked to RPI. He added this was a key factor in his decision to retire early - instead of remaining in the RAF for another 15 years to build up his pension.
However, the ombudsman said the material he relied on was not clear and was ambiguous about the terms of indexation.
In one place, for example it referred to inflation protection, not the specific index, and in another it referred to RPI in the context of revaluation increases for the period of deferment, rather than specifically increases to pensions ‘in payment'.
Sackers solicitor Arshad Khan said: "The PO has taken a sensible view on the impact of references to RPI in scheme booklets or other communications, as these should be taken as a whole to identify whether any decisions taken by members would have been different had they been expressly told that RPI could change in future to a different measure.
"Nevertheless it will be important for trustees to assess the specific facts and evidence in any other case as the PO appears to have been influenced by the specific contents of the documents on which Mr Clarke sought to rely."
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