The government is considering whether to extend the powers of the Pensions Regulator following the investigation into the collapse of BHS.
BHS on Oxford Street closed
In a written response to MPs Frank Field and Iain Wright, who chaired a parliamentary inquiry into the retailer’s collapse, business minister Margot James said the government was “determined to ensure the Pension Regulator has the powers it needs to deter and tackle misbehaviour and that these address emerging threats and challenges”.
“We are actively considering these issues and should we need to bring forward further legislation in light of all the evidence then we will of course do so,” she continued.
James said it would be “inappropriate” for the government to comment on the ongoing investigations into the demise of BHS by the Insolvency Service, the Serious Fraud Office and the Pensions Regulator.
However, she added: “Obviously we would be very concerned if these investigations show that there were breaches of the law and/or that there were serious shortcomings in terms of the regulatory frameworks.”
She said around 10% of the Insolvency Service’s investigatory capacity is currently devoted to the BHS case. “We hope this demonstrates the seriousness with which the demise of BHS is being taken.”
BHS collapsed into administration in April, just over a year after Sir Philip Green sold it to former bankrupt Dominic Chappell. It has a pension deficit of more than £570m on a buyout basis.