An Insolvency Service investigation was launched into a Kent-based pension company following complaints that were received by both the Government agency and Action Fraud.
Chartwell Trustee Pension Solutions Ltd, the sole trustee of the Pinnacle Pension Scheme, claimed to invest in storage products, but concerns raised by scheme members led to the Insolvency Service taking action.
The ensuing investigation found that the company had used a cold-calling operation to accumulate in excess of £4.8 million worth of pension funds, telling members they could expect a return of eight per cent for the first two years, with further returns possibly to follow.
Chartwell was also found to have informed members of the scheme that their money would be invested in storage products, but investigators found the company records to be incomplete, with no adequate explanation as to where the funds went.
Furthermore, members voiced their frustration at trying to contact the company, which they found to be extremely difficult, received little in the way of information and did not appear to have been issued any Annual Returns since October 2015.
Due to the inconsistency of the company records, which contradicted information provided to The Pensions Regulator, Chartwell Trustee Pensions Solutions was wound up by the High Court “in the interest of the investors” and placed into insolvent liquidation.
The ruling was passed unopposed.
Irshard Mohammed, an Investigation Supervisor at the Insolvency Service, said: “Those behind companies such as Chartwell should be aware that the Insolvency Service will not tolerate such abuses of the corporate regime. It is telling that this situation appears to have arisen from telephone cold-calling.
“Members of the public should be most wary when approached with investment proposals or proposals of how to manage their pension, through unsolicited telephone calls.”