Four directors of two trustee firms have been banned from running companies for a total of 21 years following an investigation by the Insolvency Service.
Gleeson Bessent Trustee Services (GBTS) and Gleeson Bessent Trustees (GBT) were shut down in the public interest last year, after an investigation found they had failed to seek independent investment advice, comply with their own governance statements, and adhere to regulation.
The Insolvency Service has now banned the four directors of the firms from running a company for their role in the businesses' mismanagement of member funds.
Roger Bessent, of Lytham St Annes and Tracy Park, of Freckleton were directors of GBTS, while Roger Bessent, Matthew Bessent, of Preston, and Neil O'Donnell, of Poulton-le-Fylde, were all directors of GBT.
The bans saw Roger Bessent disqualified for nine years, Park for five years and O'Donnell for three and a half years from last November. Matthew Bessent was disqualified for three and a half years, effective from 27 June 2018.
All former directors accepted that they had failed to ensure the two companies properly performed their roles as a trustee of the pension schemes and, as a result, members' funds were exposed to greater levels of risk than that specified in standard guidance issued by The Pensions Regulator (TPR).
They accepted six instances of unfit behaviour, including: failing to comply with pension legislation and TPR guidance on what is expected of trustees, operating with a lack of transparency designed to persuade or encourage the public who were not sophisticated investors, and transferring pension funds into pension schemes which relied on high-risk investments.
Insolvency Service group leader Scott Crighton, said: "Companies handling money on behalf of others have a duty to ensure that funds are properly managed.
"Directors who fail in these duties will be investigated and removed from the corporate arena for a lengthy period."
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