UK - Five men and one woman will appear in court tomorrow to face charges of conspiring to steal £2.9m from the CW Cheney pension scheme.
The six were arrested after a joint operation between West Midlands Police and the Serious Fraud Office. The hearing at Birmingham magistrates' court will hear the pleas of the six and determine whether to proceed with the case in a higher court.
Meanwhile, in a separate development to recover lost funds, a Cheney scheme member has lost out in a pension ombudsman-linked claim against Britannic Asset Management. Most of the Cheney scheme assets had been held in a fund run by Britannic and the member sought a maladministration ruling against the fund manager.
Britannic, however, successfully contested the right of the ombudsman to hear the case through the administrative court.
Colin Hay, Britannic's senior solicitor, said: It seemed clear that the subject matter of the complaint was beyond the ombudsman's jurisdiction and the judicial review has confirmed that this is indeed the case. As managers of our own fund, clearly we were not involved in the administration of the scheme.
The case hinged on the validity of Britannic being described as administrators to the scheme. Britannic argued that as the scheme's funds were directly invested in one of its own funds and not managed as a separate fund, this was not the case.
Lawyers have heralded the decision as a legal precedent.
Linklaters Mark Blyth said: “It is helpful to have clarification at last on what an administrator is and that this is clearly linked to someone who is running the scheme, as opposed to the wider interpretation that the ombudsman has previously pushed for. Justice Lightman has drawn a line between the trustee side of administration and the non-trustee side.”
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