The Pensions Regulator has launched enforcement action against Sir Philip Green and Dominic Chappell, to seek redress on behalf of 20,000 members of the BHS pension schemes.
TPR has sent statements of its case called ‘Warning Notices’ to Sir Philip Green, Taveta Investments Limited, Taveta Investments (No. 2) Limited, Dominic Chappell and Retail Acquisitions Limited.
Each notice runs to over 300 pages, and sets out the arguments and evidence as to why TPR believes the respondent should be liable to support the BHS pension schemes, following the sale of the business in March 2015 and its subsequent insolvency.
The notices set out evidence to support the use of both TPR’s contribution notice (CN) and financial support direction (FSD) powers. A CN demands a specified sum of money, and an FSD requires respondents to put ongoing support in place for a pension scheme, which must first be agreed with TPR.
People who have received Warning Notices have a specified period of time to respond with their comments and make representations. TPR’s case teams will then consider these before the case is passed to TPR’s Determinations Panel, which operates at arm’s length from TPR’s case teams and decides on the exercise of some of TPR’s most significant powers, including CNs and FSDs.
TPR chief executive Lesley Titcomb says: “We have been clear in our public commitment to make significant progress by the end of 2016 and the issue of these notices meets that commitment.
“Our decision to launch enforcement action is an important milestone in our work to attain redress for the thousands of members of BHS schemes who have been placed in this position through no fault of their own.
“Issuing Warning Notices at this time reflects the outcome of our investigations and that we are yet to receive a sufficiently credible and comprehensive offer in respect of the BHS schemes.
“We continue to pursue the best deal for members of the BHS pension schemes. If parties wish to approach us with settlement offers, that course remains open to them.”