- Title: Philip Green agrees $451 mln BHS pensions deal with regulator
- Date: 28th February 2017
- Summary: LONDON, ENGLAND, UK (FILE - 2016) (REUTERS) VARIOUS OF SHOPPERS, PEDESTRIANS OUTSIDE BHS STORE
- Embargoed: 14th March 2017 17:31
- Keywords: lawmakers demise pension apology Philip Green BHS
- Location: LONDON, ENGLAND, UK
- City: LONDON, ENGLAND, UK
- Country: United Kingdom
- Topics: Company News Markets,Economic Events
- Reuters ID: LVA00165FRDL9
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text:Britain's pension's regulator has agreed a cash settlement worth up to 363 million pounds ($451 million) with billionaire retailer Philip Green, the former owner of collapsed department store chain BHS, it said on Tuesday (February 28).
The regulator, which formally launched legal action against Green to plug a hole in two BHS pension funds in November, said the deal had the support of the trustees of the schemes which have 19,000 members.
"I hope that this solution puts their minds at rest and closes this sorry chapter for them," Green said in a statement.
Green owned BHS for 15 years before he sold the loss-making 180-store chain to Dominic Chappell, a serial bankrupt with no retail experience, for one pound in 2015.
BHS went into administration in April 2016 and the last of its stores closed in August. Some 11,000 jobs were lost.
In June last year Green faces questions from MPs.
"I just want to apologise to all the BHS people who have been involved in this and are involved and I hope that by the end of the morning we can find some sensible solutions to some of the issues," he said.
Green will provide funding for a new independent pension scheme to give pensioners the option of the same starting pension they were originally promised by BHS, and higher benefits than they would get from the Pension Protection Fund.
"It is a very important milestone for getting justice for pensioners and workers at BHS. Pensioners have got a better deal than they would have done. They haven't got everything but there's a long way to go and many inquiries before the Philip Green and the BHS book is closed," said MP Frank Fields, the Co-Chair of the Work and Pensions Committee, BHS Inquiry.
Members of the current BHS schemes will have three potential options - transfer to the new scheme, opt for a lump sum payment if eligible or remain in their current scheme and receive benefits from the PPF.
The lump sum payment option will be available to members with small pots of up to 18,000 pounds in total value.
The settlement means the regulator's anti-avoidance action against Green and his companies will cease. However, enforcement action against Chappell and his vehicle Retail Acquisitions will continue.
"If I had asked for 360 plus we might have got 200. Sir Philip likes bargaining so I thought we should set it way above the figure we might get. I was never sure what the figure should be because the pension regulator does the calculations. But it is a far, far better settlement than they would have got if Sir Philip had been allowed to walk away from his pension duties and landed the whole scheme in what is called the pension protection fund," added Field.
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