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TPO launches Pensions Dishonesty Unit


Following The Pensions Ombudsman’s (TPO) recent high value Determinations in the Norton Motorcycles (around £10 million) and Henry Davison (around £3 million) cases, TPO has now established a dedicated Pensions Dishonesty Unit to investigate allegations of serious breaches of trust, misappropriation of pension funds and dishonest or fraudulent behaviour by pension scheme trustees. 

The principal aim of the Pensions Dishonesty Unit is to hold the wrongdoers responsible for the unlawful gains they have made and ensure they repay these monies to the scheme members – many of whom have lost substantial sums and are now struggling to get by without their lifetime savings. While some of the schemes may also be eligible for the Fraud Compensation Fund, with whom we are engaging regularly, any money obtained for the members through our process will come directly from the hands of those responsible.      

Anthony Arter, Pensions Ombudsman, said:

“A noticeable trend in recent years has been the increase in cases relating to trustee dishonesty and wrongdoing leading to substantial losses for individual pension scheme members. The Norton Determination demonstrated a change of approach for us which not only holds trustees personally liable but also has the potential to benefit all scheme members. The extension of this approach to other cases involving trustee dishonesty through the new Pensions Dishonesty Unit pilot is very significant; enabling quicker redress and the recovery of funds that may otherwise not be achieved, directly from the guilty party.”

The Pensions Dishonesty Unit is now up and running on a pilot basis and consists of experienced members of staff from TPO’s Casework and Legal departments who are now working on these specialist identified cases. 

TPO has recently made two further Determinations relating to the Grosvenor and Grovesnor Schemes (around £1.2 million) and are following these up with enforcement action in the courts as we recognise how difficult it is for members of the public to pursue these matters alone.

TPO has Oral Hearings scheduled in relation to two other schemes in early February and late March and continue to receive new cases to investigate from individual members and independent trustees. TPO encourages both further applications of this nature and informal contact from independent trustees to discuss our potential involvement on a particular case.   

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