UK - OPRA is launching an investigation into a group of Birmingham-based IFAs pressurising financially-strapped firms to wind-up their schemes.
The regulator is taking action after it was revealed that the group was exploiting lax trustee laws to wind-up schemes and sign their own cheques for doing so.
OPRA spokesman Nick Edmans said this sort of practice was “skating right along the edge of legitimacy” and would be brought to the attention of OPRA case workers.
He said: “It is possible that you could give legitimate advice to an employer to wind-up a scheme.
“But if it is being done for the wrong reasons – corrupt reasons of attaining business or charging trumped-up charges, for example – it is highly dubious.”
Edmans added that the situation was not dissimilar to pensions liberation with OPRA left “trying to find where the law might be”.
“Like pensions liberation, there is the possibility that nothing illegal is going on. It might be that people don’t like trustees because the level of fees independent trustees charge.”
He admitted that the problem is that independent trustees are not regulated.
The FSA has told PP that it was unlikely to take responsibility for IFAs crossing over into the role of independent trustees.
A spokeswoman said: “It’s a tricky one. It’s more of a matter for OPRA, but if an IFA is acting wrongly we would take an interest in it.
“We work closely with OPRA, but we have no direct relationship. This falls in the grey area between our remits.”
Established independent trustees said that they were “horrified” that this situation could happen and claimed it undermined the whole trustee profession.
The Pensions Regulator (TPR) and Labour MP Stephen Kinnock and will listen to the experiences of steelworkers when transferring their pensions away from the British Steel Pension Scheme (BSPS) next week in Port Talbot.
Just Group has acquired a 75% stake in the holding company of Corinthian Pension Consulting in a bid to strengthen its professional defined benefit (DB) advisory services.
The Pensions Regulator (TPR) has exercised its production order power under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 for the very first time as part of a fraud investigation.
The ITN Limited Pension Scheme has named Trafalgar House as its administrator for an initial term of five years.