Business

Accountability Amidst Pension Scheme Mismanagement

Tony Raymond, the general counsel at The Pensions Regulator, expressed regret to the victims affected by Stuart Garner’s scheme. Garner had violated pension regulations by excessively investing individuals’ funds in his business ventures. The Pension Protection Fund assured reimbursement for those who suffered losses.

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From 2008 until its collapse in January 2020, Garner oversaw the motorcycle firm. Despite receiving substantial government funding and endorsements from MPs, Garner’s business decisions led to financial losses for 227 members across three schemes where he served as trustee. Norton Motorcycles, the company in question, was acquired post-administration in April 2020 and now operates independently under new ownership.

In his testimony before the work and pensions committee in Westminster, Raymond extended apologies to those adversely impacted. He acknowledged the devastating consequences faced by scheme participants, expressing a desire to rewrite history if possible. Raymond conceded discomfort with the situation in hindsight, highlighting the volume of cases handled by the regulator at the time, which posed challenges in prioritization.

Raymond clarified that, during the scheme’s registration, it wasn’t standard practice for the regulator to verify the legitimacy of providers. Despite receiving a whistleblowing report in 2013, which was forwarded to Action Fraud, the national fraud reporting service, the regulator refrained from investigating the scheme directly due to resource constraints. It wasn’t until 2017, with the arrival of a second whistleblower report, that a formal investigation commenced.

Following scrutiny by The Pensions Ombudsman, Garner was found to have breached his duties and acted dishonestly. In 2022, he received a suspended sentence for his involvement in the mismanagement of  funds.

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