Samuel Smith Old Brewery has admitted to failing to provide financial information to The Pensions Regulator required for an investigation, along with its chairman Humphrey Smith.
It was revealed last month that the regulator was prosecuting Yorkshire’s oldest brewery after it asked the company for details of its finances in order to understand the funding position of some of the brewery’s pension scheme.
However, it failed to comply with a notice issued under Section 72 of the Pensions Act 2004 on 12 January 2018, requiring the information and documents to be provided by 26 January 2018. The information has now been provided to TPR. The regulator said it opened an investigation into the company following submission of the 2015 valuation of some of the company’s final salary pension schemes and asked for financial information from the company to seek assurances the schemes could be financially supported.
At Brighton Magistrates’ Court today (Tuesday 15 May) Humphrey Smith and Samuel Smith Old Brewery pleaded guilty to neglecting or refusing to provide information and documents without a reasonable excuse, contrary to section 77(1) of the Pensions Act 2004. Humphrey Smith was charged on the basis that he consented to or connived in the offence by the company, or caused it by his neglect.
Commenting, TPR’s executive director of frontline regulation Nicola Parish said: “We are satisfied with the outcome of this case, the latest in a series of successful prosecutions by TPR for offences of this kind. This sends a clear message to employers that we are serious when we ask for information. We require it for good reason as part of our work to protect pension savers. Anyone who does not cooperate with our requests also risks getting a criminal record.”
The case was adjourned for sentencing until June 6. The case is the sixth criminal conviction secured by the regulator against individuals or organisations for failing to comply with Section 72 notices.