Pension Bosses Banned for 34 Years for £57 Million Pension Scam – Our Director Disqualification Solicitors Comment
Misleading the public is never an allegation that is going to end well for the delinquent Director. This case (essentially about a pension scam), which resulted in a total of 34 years of director disqualification between 4 directors, following the transfer of million-pound pension funds and an Insolvency Service investigation, demonstrates the point.
Background to this Director Disqualification Case
Mr Karl Dunlop (‘Mr Dunlop’), Mr Stuart Grehan (‘Mr Grehan’) and Mr Ian Dunsford (‘Mr Dunsford’) had previously accepted Director Disqualification Undertakings for their management roles within the group of companies involved in the transfer of funds.
Mr Dunlop, the Director of Imperial Trustee Services Ltd (‘Imperial’), accepted a 9-year Director Disqualification Undertaking for failing to act in the best interests of pension members and subsequently failing to ensure investments were adequately diverse.
Mr Grehan, Director of Sycamore Crown Ltd (‘Sycamore’) and, agreed to a 9-year ban as a result of false and misleading statements made to encourage investors to transfer their pension pots.
Mr Dunsford, Director of Omni Trustees Ltd (‘Omni’), agreed to a voluntary ban for 7 years for failing to act in the best interests of pension members and subsequently failing to ensure investments were adequately diverse.
Mr Stephen Talbot was not formally appointed a Director of Transeuro Worldwide Holdings Ltd (‘Transeuro’) but accepted a 9-year Director Disqualification Undertaking for failing to explain what happened to millions of pounds worth of assets.
The Insolvency Service’s Investigation
The investigation centred on the conduct of the Directors connected with Transeuro, who helped fund 2 introducer firms – Sycamore and Jackson Francis Ltd (‘Jackson’).
The introducer firms cold-called members of the public, inviting them to transfer their pension pots into Self Invested Personal Pension plans (‘SIPPs’) and pension schemes operated by Omni and Imperial, who provided Trustee and Administrator services for 2 occupational pension schemes – Henley Retirement Benefit Scheme (HRBS) and Capita Oak Pension Scheme (‘COPS’).
The Directors Misled the Investors
Insolvency Service Investigators found that the introducers from both Sycamore and Jackson misled clients about their expertise and experience, offering ‘guaranteed’ returns designed to encourage them to transfer their existing pension funds.
As a result, more than £39,000,000.00 was paid into SIPPs, over £10,000,000.00 into COPS and more than £8,000,000.00 to HRBS. Members’ funds were then largely invested in unregulated investments in storage units which ultimately did not yield the level of returns promised to members.
The Insolvency Service’s Comment
Mr Ken Beasley, Official Receiver for the Insolvency Service’s Public Interest Unit, said that unfortunately he has seen an increase in cases where members of the public have been persuaded to transfer their hard earned pension pots into new schemes on the basis of unsubstantiated promises of higher returns which inevitably never materialise.
Our Director Disqualification Solicitors Comment
The length of the Director Disqualifications given out in this case, shows the seriousness with which the Insolvency Service views such conduct. Such scams have become all too common following the introduction of ‘Pension Freedoms’ in April 2015. Misleading investors is never an attractive picture.
Collateral or parallel criminal law or compensatory proceedings may follow against the Directors.
The team of director disqualification solicitors at NDP are experienced in dealing with such claims. Click here to see some of our testimonials. For help and advice on defending yourself if threatened with disqualification, talk to our Director Disqualification Specialists by calling us on 0121 200 7040, or contacting us. The earlier you earlier you get in touch, the more we can do to help.