> Pension Funds Insider> Regulator releases details on GP Noble pensions fraud case
The Pensions Regulator (TPR) has released details of its investigation into the trustees of GP Noble and said it would take "swift action to disrupt fraud" in the future.
The details of the regulator's probe are being released following the outcome of the latest criminal prosecution by the Serious Fraud Office (SFO).
This week, former director of GP Noble, Graham Pitcher, and investment adviser Quentin Russell were found guilty of the £52m pension fund fraud. Three other defendants – Gary Cordell, Tony Morris and Peter Malmstrom, were acquitted on all counts
In July 2008. as a result of intelligence-gathering activities, both TPR and the Pension Protection Fund (PPF) became concerned over GP Noble's investments of pension scheme assets. The central feature was the disinvestment of some £52m of assets belonging to nine pension schemes overseen by the firm.
As a result TPR suspended GP Noble and trustee Graham Pitcher and appointed an independent trustee to look after the nine schemes. It also reported its concerns to the SFO, which initiated an investigation. The appointed trustee, working with their legal advisors, undertook to recover the funds via the civil courts and has so far recouped £36m, with further action ongoing.
The Pensions Regulator's chief executive Bill Galvin welcomed the recoveries in the case so far as good news for PPF levy payers, and for those members whose additional voluntary pension contributions (AVCs) had been under threat of not being paid out owing to the actions of GP Noble.
Galvin said: "We gather intelligence across the pensions landscape to detect potential fraud and other risks to members. We will take swift action to disrupt fraud, protect members' savings, and to deter such events from happening in the future. Fortunately, large scale pension fraud is rare.
"We will use our own powers to ensure that those running pension schemes are fit and proper to do so - and work with other agencies, such as the police and SFO, where there's evidence of fraud."
The regulator has published the report, which can be accessed in full here, on its regulatory intervention under section 89 of the Pensions Act 2004.
First published 12.07.2012
13 July 2012
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