Director fined over non-delivery of pensions information

A company director being investigated by The Pensions Regulator (TPR) has been fined £10,000 and ordered to pay £2,800 costs for failing to hand over information and documents, while claiming he was busy qualifying for a sailing competition

Michael Woolley, from Redhill in Surrey, failed to appear before Brighton Magistrates’ Court after telling the court he had already booked a diving holiday in Cuba.

TPR has asked for information about investments relating to money and assets from 16 pension schemes as part of an ongoing investigation.

Woolley is the director and a shareholder of Southbank Capital Ltd, where the money was invested, and director of PIM Trustees Ltd which is trustee for the pension schemes.

TPR formally requested the information on 22 January 2019. Woolley failed to provide all of the information requested by the statutory deadline of 12 February 2019 without a reasonable excuse.

The court heard one of the reasons given for his continued failure to provide the information was that he had been busy attempting to qualify for the Fastnet Race – a biennial offshore yacht contest. The regulator claimed he had been prioritising leisure activities over provision of the required information.

District Judge Tessa Szagun found that, as the sole director, Woolley should have had access to the required information and his failure to provide it tied up TPR’s time and resources.

Erica Carroll, TPR’s director of enforcement, said: ‘The use of our information gathering powers is essential in our work to safeguard people’s pensions.

‘Anyone refusing to comply with our requests without good reason should take note – they could find themselves in court with a criminal record.’

Woolley was ordered to pay the money within 28 days.

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