An insurance company director has been banned from company directorships after failing to keep adequate records and provide scheme members with up-to-date information.
The Insolvency Service handed the seven-year sanction to Cheshire-based Ivor John Jenkins following a multi-year investigation which also saw his company, Optimum Financial Solutions, wound up last February.
Approved by financial regulators, Jenkins' insurance agency began to struggle in 2015, leading to a decision to administer the Optimum Retirement Benefits Plan (OBRP). The scheme, promoted from a Manchester office, received around £13.4m of transfers from 288 people, with many having been cold-called.
Jenkins was also given financial incentives, including a lump-sum payment of £50,000 and monthly payments of £5,000 but, after complaints, the Insolvency Service began carrying out confidential investigations in 2016.
At the same time, The Pensions Regulator (TPR) launched its own probe, ultimately finding the trustees had kept poor records, had limited knowledge of how the scheme should have operated, and were suspected of conducting a pensions liberation scam.
Last year, the regulator removed Gordon Craig as a trustee of the scheme, and appointed Dalriada Trustees amid a police investigation into fraud, with Craig having paid himself nearly £500,000 from the scheme over the course of 12 months.
Members received loans from companies linked to Craig, worth as much as 75% of their transferred funds, with the remaining 25% invested in high-risk, illiquid investments including gem-mining and olive oil processing.
Dalriada has since been unable to reconcile member accounts and identify assets, largely due to the "inadequate record-keeping", the Insolvency Service said.
Official receiver Ken Beasley said: "Having worked in the highly-regulated insurance industry, Ivor Jenkins should have known there are stringent guidelines when it comes to administering a pension scheme.
"He gained personally from allowing his company to administer the pension scheme, while members were left in the dark about their savings and, for that, we welcome this disqualification which seriously curtails his ability to run a limited company."
Jenkins' ban is effective from 28 June 2019, and he cannot directly or indirectly become involved, without court permission, in the promotion, formation or management of a company.
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