UK - David Laverick is to take over the role of Pensions Ombudsman from September, it was announced today by government minister Alistair Darling, Secretary of State for Work and Pensions. For an initial term of three years, he will replace Dr Julian Farrand QC, whose has been ombudsman for the past seven years and involved in a number of high profile and controversial decisions regarding pension funds.

Like Farrand, Laverick has a background in the legal profession but his current position is chief executive of the Family Health Service Appeal Authority. He has previously worked as local government ombudsman, a position he held for 20 years. The ombudsman’s role is to investigate and decide independently complaints of injustice as a result of maladministration by the trustees or managers of occupational pension schemes.

Ferrand’s departure comes at the end of his original five-year term, which had been extended for two more years. Commenting on his departure, Anthony Arter, pensions partner in legal firm, Eversheds in London, says: “Farrand will be seen by many as the champion of the individual, but sometimes pushing back the boundaries isn’t always seen to be in everyone’s interest, as proved by some of his more controversial rulings. Nonetheless, he made people sit up and think.”