UK pensions regulator, Arcadia row over details of BHS sale

first_img“This evidence of Ms Titcomb has been widely reported in the press, but it is incorrect,” Goldman said.He went on to detail how TPR was informed of Arcadia’s desire to sell BHS, and noted that the regulator sought – and was granted – an “urgent” meeting a week before the sale was announced to clarify how the sale could impact the BHS schemes.“Specifically,” the letter adds, “in relation to the BHS pension schemes, [Arcadia chairman] Sir Philip [Green] expressed his strong wish to agree a sustainable solution, and there was a discussion as to the possibility of implementing a restructuring with the approval of TPR.”The chairman of the work and pensions select committee, Labour MP Frank Field, said the letter was an “important intervention”, and that the central message was “disturbing”.Responding to the letter, a TPR spokesperson said that, while it did conduct the meeting with Arcadia, it was not given “sufficient information” to gauge the impact of the sale on the pension fund.The regulator also noted that companies hoping to conduct a sale were able to apply for a clearance statement if there were concerns about the sale’s impacting a fund.However, it noted that Arcadia did not approach it for such a clearance statement.“Given our concerns regarding the BHS pension scheme and the circumstance relating to the sale, and in the absence of clearance, we opened an anti-avoidance investigation, which superseded our earlier valuation investigation,” the spokesperson added.TPR confirmed last month it was investigating the collapse of BHS. Arcadia Group, the former owner of UK retailer BHS, has criticised the Pensions Regulator (TPR) over evidence given to a parliamentary committee, arguing the regulator’s chief executive made inaccurate statements.In a letter to the work and pensions select committee and the business, innovation and skills committee, Arcadia company secretary Adam Goldman criticised Lesley Titcomb, chief executive of TPR.Titcomb was speaking to the joint parliamentary committee about the combined £571m (€734m) buyout deficit left in the two BHS defined benefit schemes following the sponsor’s collapse – a hearing that saw suggestions that the regulator lacked the “teeth” to enforce existing laws.Goldman criticised Titcomb for saying the regulator only learned of Arcadia’s decision to sell BHS to Retail Acquisition when deal was made public in March 2015.last_img read more


Stomach surgery sidelines Walcott

first_img Press Association Walcott was withdrawn from the Arsenal XI to face Stoke last weekend after feeling pain in his stomach, and the Gunners confirmed that he needs surgery. Walcott will miss England’s crunch qualifiers against Montenegro and Poland as well as Arsenal’s games against West Brom, Swansea and Napoli. An Arsenal statement read: “Theo Walcott will have a minor procedure on his abdomen in Germany on Wednesday which will keep him out of action until after the next international break.” Walcott’s injury is a blow for Arsenal, who have come to rely on the winger even more this season following the absence of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Santi Cazorla and Lukas Podolski. Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger hopes to have the 24-year-old back for the game against Norwich on October 19, however. Wenger said: “Theo will be out for a few weeks. He has developed some damage to his posterior abdominal wall. It’s not a hernia, but it’s a little structural problem in his abdomen. “He will have the procedure in Germany on Wednesday and, because it’s so minor, we can begin his rehab immediately. We are pleased it’s being dealt with quickly and he shouldn’t miss too many Arsenal matches. But he will miss the forthcoming international matches with England.” Walcott’s injury is arguably of bigger importance to England, however. Walcott has become an instrumental part of Roy Hodgson’s starting XI of late, starting the last five games for the Three Lions. England need to win their final two qualifiers against Montenegro and Poland next month to guarantee qualification for Rio 2014. center_img Arsenal winger Theo Walcott has been ruled out for three weeks because he needs stomach surgery.last_img read more