Appeal dismissed for banned pensions trustee

Nearly five years after he was struck off, a former pension scheme trustee who had attempted to appeal a ban from The Pensions Regulator (TPR) has had his case dismissed by the Upper Tribunal.

Through a notice issued in October 2011, TPR sought to ban Robert Hill, alleging he was not a “fit and proper person” to be a scheme trustee.  This was after discovering that Hill, alongside other trustees of the Hugh Mackay Retirement Benefits Scheme, had breached occupational pension scheme regulations that had resulted in members having a risky portfolio which contained a high property asset concentration.

Hill was four years and nine months out of time for an appeal to go ahead, having only referred the decision notice to the Tribunal on 12th September 2016.

Being under investigation by regulators and other bodies from December 2009 to September 2014, had resulted in anxiety and stress claimed Hill, which he stated led to the delay.

The investigations led to the new scheme trustee issuing civil proceedings against former trustees for over £20 million, according to the Tribunal decision.

He had also attempted to start up a new company, but his bank would not allow him to be a director due to his status of a banned trustee, and he was not permitted to own in excess of 20% of issued share capital. The matter of Hill’s integrity was also questioned.

The Tribunal notice stated that Hill “said that the original allegations against him, namely that he had been accused of fraud and criminality but which were not eventually established, meant that he has been regarded, at best, with deep suspicion, and at worst, as someone not be trusted, by many people he had previously dealt with. This had severely impacted on his standing in the business community in the North East. As a result, he had been unable to borrow money from lenders, which is vital in his business, as when they Google his name up comes all the old accusations made in the press which he has tried and failed to get removed.”

It also mentioned the reasoning behind Hill’s delay in referring the decision:

“Mr Hill also says that there are many other things, including health issues, which have plagued him since then, the latest of which is not being able to be a director of any new company. That was for him the ‘final straw’ and it is anger at the many injustices he has suffered over the years that has prompted him to bring this case now. He expresses his belief that there should be no time limit on justice and therefore should be allowed to make a late reference.”

The Tribunal concluded that there was no good reason for the delay and that it had been a “long one”. It also stated that resource implications would result had the regulator allowed the appeal.

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