Preston pensions firm wound up by court over mismanagement of £14m funds

A Preston firm which managed two pension schemes has been wound-up by the court after failing to properly maintain £14m worth of members’ funds.

Thursday, 5th September 2019, 8:35 am
Updated Thursday, 5th September 2019, 9:35 am
Roger Bessent who has been banned from running companies and was involved in Ecroignard Trustees

Ecroignard Trustees Ltd based at Oak House, Golden Hill Lane, Leyland, was wound up on Monday, by Deputy District Judge Carter at the High Court in Manchester.

At the hearing, the court heard that Ecroignard acted as the trustee of two pension schemes – The Uniway Systems Retirement Benefits Scheme and the Genwick Retirement Benefits Scheme.

The firm was responsible for around 229 members and £14m worth of investments. Following complaints, however, the Insolvency Service conducted confidential investigations into its activities, uncovering instances of misconduct.

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Investigators found it had traded with a lack of integrity. Pension funds were used to invest in vehicles that were illiquid, high-risk and not necessarily suitable for the members.

It also failed to comply with statutory requirements, best practice guidance and internal governance requirements.

The company failed to keep proper records, which meant that it was unclear whether all investments were accounted for. There was also no full picture of members’ contributions and what payments were from Ecroignard’s bank accounts.

Investigators said it was also unclear who was involved and responsible for the management of Ecroignard since Roger Bessent resigned as a director in April 2017. Despite having resigned previously and being banned from managing companies for nine years, Roger Bessent appeared to continue having executive authority in the company and was sole signatory on the company’s bank account until October 2018.