Insolvency Service investigation results in 21 year disqualification for pension directors

Insolvency

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Four directors of two pension companies, Gleeson Bessent Trustee Services (GBTS) and Gleeson Bessent Trustees (GBT), have been banned from running companies for a total of 21 years.

In March of last year, GBTS and GBT were shut down by the courts in the public interest. An Insolvency Service investigation into the directors followed, in which it was found that Roger Bessent, Tracy Park, Neil O’Donnell and Matthew Bessent had failed in their duty to ensure the pension companies performed their roles of Trustees. This failure had placed the investments of its members at greater risk than specified in The Pensions Regulator’s standard guidance.

The two companies provided trustee services or were the Trustees of a number of occupational pensions.

The four directors of the two companies had six charges of unfit conduct brought against them. These included:

  • Failure to adhere to Pension Regulator guidance and pension legislation governing Trustees
  • Operating with a lack of transparency in order to encourage members of the public to transfer pension funds into schemes relying on high risk investments
  • Offering artificial ‘employment’ to members in order to circumvent the requirement for them to be employed by the sponsoring employer of the occupational scheme.

They did not dispute the charges and Roger Bessent was disqualified for nine years and Tracy Park for five years, with both Neil O’Donnell and Matthew Bessent being banned for three-and-a-half years, bringing the total to 21 years in all.

Their disqualification means that, unless they have permission from a court, none of the four are able to act as a director, promote, form or manage (directly or indirectly) a company or LLP, or be the receiver of a company’s property.

Commenting on the case, the Group Leader of the Insolvency Service, 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.”

Seeking insolvency advice at the earliest opportunity is the key to protecting your business and assets. To find out more, contact Gibson Hewitt today.

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