The High Court has ordered six pension and finance companies to be wound up, after it was found they had abused millions of pounds worth of people’s savings.
The related companies, including Fast Pensions Ltd, were shut down in the public interest, following an arrangement in which 520 people were encouraged to transfer their pension savings into one of 15 schemes. FP Scheme Trustees Ltd was the trustee for all of these schemes and some of the funds were invested in the four finance companies that were also wound up.
An investigation by the Insolvency Service was launched after complaints were raised about the six companies and they were all placed into provisional liquidation earlier this year. The High Court decision to wind up the companies was made on 30 May 2018.
The investigation discovered that at least £21 million had been invested in the 15 pension schemes, following various tactics – such as cold calling – to encourage savers to swap.
The funds were then misused, with at least £4 million appropriated to pay commissions, while the majority of the remaining investments were used for loans to businesses which appeared to have a connection to Fast Pensions and FP Scheme Trustees.
Accounting records for all six companies were found to be inadequate and a lack of cooperation, once the investigation was launched, made it impossible for the Insolvency Service to determine the full extent of their misdeeds.
An application by the Official Receiver was made to The Pensions Regulator to appoint an independent Trustee to manage the pension schemes.
Commenting on the case, the Insolvency Service’s Chief Investigator, David Hope, said: “[The companies] used unsavoury tactics to attract members and failed to paint the full picture as to what would really happen with their savings.
“By shutting the companies down, the courts have put a stop to their unscrupulous activities and we hope this sends a strong message that we will robustly investigate and take action where people’s funds and savings are at risk.”