Pensions Regulator still hopeful of Philip Green BHS deal

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The Pensions Regulator is still hoping a deal can be struck with Sir Philip Green to settle the BHS pensions black hole, the watchdog’s chief executive Lesley Titcomb said on Wednesday.

“We are pursuing the best possible outcome we can secure for them [members] relentlessly,” she told the Work and Pensions Committee.

Titcomb added that the “door remains open” for a deal with former owner Green.

She was there to answer questions on how regulatory powers can be used to avoid another fund disaster. The high street chain had a £571 million pension deficit when it failed  in April.

The comments came a day after it emerged MP Frank Field, who is chairman of a committee probing the BHS failure, asked Titcomb whether the black hole could be plugged “through acquiring assets other than cash”, including Arcadia tycoon Green’s £100 million yacht. Green declined to comment. 

Titcomb said that it would be up to courts to decide if Green had  to sell assets to support the pension scheme.

Earlier this month the Pensions Regulator begun enforcement action against Green, his retail group, and another former owner Dominic Chappell.

In a further development in the BHS case, administrator Duff & Phelps has just published a progress report which revealed unsecured creditors can expect to receive a maximum of just 8p in the pound following the collapse.

Duff & Phelps also said that demand for BHS properties from landlords and for paying premiums “reduced substantially” following incidents such as the Brexit vote.

A spokesman for BHS landlord Land Securities played down the impact from Brexit.

He said: “The EU referendum has not affected our view that the BHS surrenders presented an opportunity for us.”

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November 24, 2016 |
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