The High Court ordered into liquidation a pension company which invested in storage products after it was found to have abused millions of investors? savings.
Chartwell Trustee Pension Solutions Ltd (Chartwell), was the sole trustee of the Pinnacle Pension Scheme and was incorporated on 14 December 2007. Its registered office was Kingfisher House, Bromley, Kent.
The Insolvency Service launched an investigation into the company?s activities following complaints received by it and Action Fraud.
The investigation found:
the company was entrusted with in excess of ?4.8m of members? pension funds following an apparent cold-calling telesales operation. Members were told that they could expect a guaranteed 8% return into their pension for the first two years and that further returns may follow
members were told their pensions would be invested in ?storage products?. However, records provided by the company to the Insolvency Service investigators were incomplete, and it did not provide the investigators with an adequate explanation for the application of the funds it received
customers experienced enormous difficulties in contacting the company, received very little information from the company and do not appear to have been issued with any Annual Returns, which are supposed to provide them with details of their invested funds, since October 2015
Investigators were unable to obtain any clear view of how the company operated and records the company did provide were incomplete, inconsistent, and contradicted information the company had itself provided to The Pensions Regulator.
The company was wound up by the court on Wednesday 6 June 2018, on the petition of the Secretary of State for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy, following an investigation by the Insolvency Service.
The Court said that it was appropriate, desirable, and in the interest of investors to make an order to place the company into insolvent liquidation.
Judge Prentis found that the company operated with a lack of commercial probity, a lack of transparency, and without any presence at its Registered Office address.
Investigators were unable to obtain any clear view of how the company operated.
Nobody appeared on behalf of the company to oppose the petition.
Investigation Supervisor Irshard Mohammed, of the Insolvency Service, said:
Those behind companies such as Chartwell should be aware that the Insolvency Service will not tolerate such abuses of the corporate regime. It is telling that this situation appears to have arisen from telephone cold-calling.
Members of the public should be most wary when approached with investment proposals or proposals of how to manage their pension, through unsolicited telephone calls.