The Pensions Regulator has confirmed it is investigating the BHS pension scheme, which has a deficit of £571m on a buyout basis.
It comes after the retailer called in administrators earlier today.
“We are undertaking an investigation into the BHS pensions scheme to determine whether it would be appropriate to use our anti-avoidance powers,” said a spokesman for the Pensions Regulator.
“Such cases are complex. There is a clear process that must be followed and this can sometimes take a considerable amount of time. We are unable to provide a running commentary on case investigations, or confirm the targets of our investigation.
“When it becomes appropriate to do so we will consider issuing a report of our activities in this case.”
Independent pensions consultant John Ralfe said: “It is going to be a long process but it is very much a crucial test case for the industry because the whole point of the pensions regulation is stopping companies from walking away from their pension responsibilities.”