Pensions  

Regulator bans trustees after failed investment attempt

Regulator bans trustees after failed investment attempt

Three professional trustees have been banned by The Pensions Regulator, after they attempted to make employer-related investments without the necessary legal and investment advice.

In a regulatory intervention report published last week the watchdog stated that Marcus Johnson, Lynda Turner and Andrew Stowers, acting on behalf of N W Brown Trustees, have agreed to never again act as trustees of occupational pension schemes.

This was after the trustees attempted to make an investment with money from the scheme without seeking appropriate advice.

TPR was contacted in 2016 by a scheme administrator of one of the 23 pension funds the trustee was responsible for over concerns about a transaction which appeared to be a prohibited investment of £500,000 from that scheme to its employer.

Although the trustees stated they had obtained the necessary legal and investment advice, the administrator was not convinced as the trustees had attempted to make an investment in the employer only days earlier, which had also been denied.

The documents received by TPR in its investigation didn’t contain any legal advice, it stated.

The regulator concluded that the trustees not only lacked sufficient knowledge and understanding about whether the investment was legal but had also failed to get appropriate advice.

The watchdog engaged with the parties and achieved a settlement, with Mr Johnson, Ms Turner and Mr Stowers agreeing not to act trustee of any occupational pension schemes again – with one exception, as Mr Johnson is allowed to remain trustee of a family small self-administered scheme.

N W Brown Trustees and its parent company N W Brown Group confirmed that they would wind down or transfer all appointments to occupational pension schemes by the end of 2019, and would cease to offer trustee services in this sector.

maria.espadinha@ft.com

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