New Powers Needed To Protect Company Pensions After Mergers, Takeovers

Jul 4, 2016 |

The BHS pensions trouble is a sign that the UK needs to update its regulation powers.

According to former head of the pension regulator, Lady Judge, the regulator did not have the right powers at the time to prevent the BHS pensions trouble.

During the time former BHS owner Sir Philip Green had sold the retail chain questionably to former racer Dominic Chappell for a troubling £1 the previous year, the entire company is now floating with a £571m pensions trouble.

This had led to government trouble finding a solution as the PPF will halve the pensions of all employees.

“The regulator should have the right to approve or disapprove any corporate transaction that might disadvantage pensioners,” the Financial Times quoted Judge as saying. “If it had had the power, we would not be in this situation.”

However, the pensions minister, Ros Altmann, suggested such an approach would be too strong. “I would be nervous about saying a transaction could not take place. But we must be clearer [to companies] about the consequences of failure to get clearance for a deal.

“If we need to give the regulator more powers we will, but it is not clear yet. Any changes would need to be done with careful consideration and not kneejerk reaction.”

But Judge said pensioners needed more protection. “We need to take care of [pensioners] as a country and not let unscrupulous big corporates put them in a position where they won’t be able to have a reasonable future,” she said.

Posted in: General Consultation

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