UK - Members of the defunct Restawile Upholstery scheme are set to launch the first ever appeal against the Pensions Compensation Board.
The move will test uncharted territory in the PCB’s remit and expose any pitfalls in the legislation governing it.
But first the board must decide whether it will accept an appeal against its decision.
An application for compensation to the PCB from Restawile members was rejected after an investigation found no evidence that “fraud or dishonesty” took place at the scheme, despite its loss of funds.
The investigation disclosed that the scheme’s independent trustee, Alexander Forbes, found no money in the fund on its appointment to wind it up, despite accounts showing funding levels of between £30,000 and £40,000.
PCB secretary Mike Lydon admitted the appeal would break new ground for the government body and provide justification to look at the pitfalls of the system.
But he said that first the board had to decide whether it will accept the appeal.
If the PCB decides that the appeal can go ahead, it will conduct a full review of the facts and investigate any additional information that has come to light.
Alexander Forbes director Andrew Bakewell said he was surprised no one else had tried to challenge a PCB decision before.
He said: “They have only ever paid out on three cases. In relation to the amount of cases they have taken on, this is a pretty small amount.
“I would have expected an appeal before now.”
Restawile scheme members are also forming a case to present to the pensions ombudsman, under the advice of OPAS and Alexander Forbes.
The claim will call into question the original trustees’ duty of good faith and the advice given by the scheme actuary, Santhouse Whittington.
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