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Pension trustee companies shut down by High Court following Insolvency Service investigation

Two pension trustee companies which administered unlawful occupational pension schemes have been wound-up by the High Court.

The news, which relates to Gleeson Bessent Trustee Services and Gleeson Bessent Trustees, comes shortly after an investigation led by the Insolvency Service, which found that the two companies had administered nine occupational pension schemes which failed to comply with the following:

  • They had had not obtained independent investment advice.
  • They did not adhere to pensions legislation and guidance issued by the Pensions Regulator.
  • They did not comply with the company’s own governance statements.

According to reports, the schemes administered by the two companies were found to have involved the lending of money from the schemes themselves back to the sponsoring employer.

The High Court heard that the companies managed to generate £3.5m in fees from the unlawful schemes over a period of three years.

This was achieved through charging customers an initial fee of up to £1,645, followed by a percentage annual management fee of anywhere up to £2,500, according to reports.

The Insolvency Service presented evidence which revealed that the two companies had not always ensured investors were aware that their funds were being used in high-risk investments.

Instead of marketing the schemes via traditional means, the companies approved investments which were later offered to members of the general public through a network of “introducers and sub-introducers,” the High Court Heard.

The two companies were ordered to be shut down “in the public interest,” after it was found that members of the schemes had been offered “contrived and artificial employment”.

Commenting on the case, Insolvency Service spokesperson Scott Crighton, said: “The Insolvency Service will investigate and bring to a halt the activities of companies that fail to meet the required standard for dealing with investment funds placed with them by members of the public and that are found to be operating against the public interest”.

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