'No evidence' of wrongdoing in House of Fraser insolvency - TPR

The Pensions Regulator (TPR) found “no evidence” of wrongdoing in House of Fraser's insolvency, following its investigation.

It noted that there was no indication that the timing of the insolvency was deliberately manipulated, or that it happened too soon or was mismanaged.

The regulator also concluded that there were no acts or transactions prior to the retailers administration that warranted further investigation.

It will therefore not conduct any further investigations or pursue the use of its financial support direction or contribution notice powers.

The retailer's pension scheme, which had two sections, had a combined membership of 10,256 and an estimated combined buyout deficit of £265.7m, as of 31 December 2016.

House of Fraser filed a Company Voluntary Arrangement (CVA) on 6 June 2018 after falling into insolvency.

The pension scheme was not required to make any compromises under the CVA.

However, the CVA eventually fell through after proposed shareholder investment did not materialise.

The firm was then purchased by Sport Direct owner, Mike Ashley, for £90m in August 2018, under a 'pre-pack' arrangement.

Its pension scheme then entered Pension Protection Fund assessment.

TPR opened its investigation to establish whether there were any activities in respect of the pre-pack and the events and circumstances preceding it that would cause it to use its anti-avoidance powers.

However, the regulator concluded: “We found no evidence to conclude that the timing of the insolvency was deliberately manipulated, or that the insolvency occurred too soon or was mismanaged.

“We also concluded that there were no acts or transactions pre-dating the administration that warranted further investigation and are satisfied that, on the basis of the evidence we reviewed, further investigations would not be appropriate.

“In addition, we concluded that there was insufficient evidence to support further investigation to pursue an FSD.”

    Share Story:

Recent Stories

De-risking options for pension schemes
In this latest Pensions Age podcast, Linklaters' Sarah Parkin talks to Laura Blows about the wide range of choice available to pensions schemes for the partial, or full, removal of their risks

Risk transfer opportunities
Laura Blows speaks to Lisa Purdy, Head of Fiduciary Distribution at Legal & General Investment Management and Gavin Smith, Pricing and Execution Director - UK PRT at Legal & General, about the impact of the recent market volatility on the bulk annuity and risk transfer market and the potential opportunities for the future

Bulk annuities during coronavirus
Laura Blows speaks to Just business development manager Prash Mehta about the impact of coronavirus on transactions

Investing in infrastructure
Laura Blows speaks to James Dawes about how, and why, pension funds should be looking at infrastructure as an investment opportunity