Dominic Chappell ordered to pay £9.5m into BHS schemes

Former BHS owner, Dominic Chappell, has been ordered to pay £9.5m into the company’s two pension schemes by The Pensions Regulator (TPR).

This follows an unsuccessful challenge by Chappell to the Upper Tribunal, which agreed with the original decision made by the Determinations Panel in January 2018.

It concluded that a series of actions had been materially detrimental to the pension schemes.

These actions included the acquisition of BHS, management decisions of the company, the appointment of inexperienced board members, the implementation of an inadequate business plan and the way money was extracted and distributed to Mr Chappell, advisers, company directors and family members.

It ruled that two contribution notices, totalling £9,542,985, were to be issued against Chappell and paid into the collapsed retailer’s schemes.

Commenting, TPR executive director of frontline regulation, Nicola Parish, “We are pleased that the decision to issue two contribution notices to pay money into the BHS pension schemes stands.

“This case illustrates how TPR is willing to pursue a case through the courts to seek redress for pension savers. It illustrates the situations our anti-avoidance powers were designed to meet and which allow us to protect the retirement incomes that savers deserve.”

TPR said that the notices mark the end of the regulator’s anti-avoidance enforcement against Chappell.

Pensions Minister, Guy Opperman, said: “The government is determined to protect hard-working people’s retirement incomes and I welcome the regulator’s action in this case.

"We plan to give the regulator even more powers and to bring in new laws to jail reckless bosses who plunder and jeopardise workers’ pensions.”

AJ Bell senior analyst, Tom Selby, added: “Dominic Chappell’s failed bid to overturn TPR’s £9.5m contribution notices means this sorry saga is one step closer to being resolved.

“The BHS scandal has been the main driver behind reform proposals included in the Pension Schemes Bill designed to place greater responsibility for supporting pension promises at the door of company bosses.

“In particular, the bill beefs up fines and introduces the threat of prison sentences for those who neglect their responsibilities to members.

"While it is possible the extent of these powers will ultimately be tested in courts, the message to UK Plc is clear: a repeat of what happened at BHS simply will not be tolerated.”

In December 2018, Chappell was fined £124,000 by TPR for failing to hand over information in relation to BHS’s schemes.

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