£14m pension schemes shut down leaving 229 people with missing pension pot
Two pension schemes worth £14m have been wound up by the high court after an investigation revealed they had invested members’ money in illiquid, high-risk and unsuitable investments.
More than 200 people may have lost huge sums of money after investing into two high-risk pensions schemes, officials have said.
Preston-based, Ecroignard Trustees, was wound up last week by the High Court after an investigation by the Insolvency Service. The company acted as the trustee for two pensions schemes – The Uniway Systems Retirement Benefits Scheme and The Genwick Retirement Benefits Scheme.
There were around 229 members, with assets of up to £14m.
The Insolvency Service investigation found that there were numerous instances of misconduct by Ecroignard Trustees, with records not being kept and general mismanagement, meaning it is unclear whether all investments are accounted for. This has left members in the dark in relation to their contributions.
Former director, Roger Bessent, was in the news in 2017 when he pleaded guilty to multiple counts of fraud between October 2014 and December 2016. The Lytham St Annes accountant was jailed for three years and four months for helping himself to more than £295,000 from a separate pension scheme. He used the money to help buy a house for his daughter.
Now, 229 members of the pension schemes are concerned they may not see their money again. Officials say it is not yet known what has happened to the money once it was invested, due to a “lack of transparency and lack of commercial integrity”.
Money was invested into high-risk, long term investments with illiquid assets which could not be easily turned into cash. It is expected these investments were largely unsuitable for many of the investors.
Scott Crighton, Chief Investigator for the Insolvency Service, said:
When people invest their pension funds as a way of planning for their futures, they don't expect their saving pots to be put at risk.
Ecroignard's management of the pension schemes, however, raised considerable red flags and questions remain which will need to be looked into by the Official Receiver.
How can Smooth Commercial Law help?
Have you been affected by the closure of Ecroignard Trustees? Are you worried your investment has been lost? Smooth Commercial Law may be able to help.
At Smooth Commercial Law, our team of experts have extensive experience in dealing with a whole manner of claims that arise from negligent and/or unsuitable financial advice. We are seeing more and more claims in relation to negligent financial advice, and have managed to secure compensation for many of our clients.
Should you have a claim, we can deal with your case and look to recover compensation for not just your loss of investment but also any adverse tax liabilities that you may now be facing as well.