Chat on WhatsApp

0114 266 4216

November 25, 2022

Hartley Pensions Director causes panic to scheme members

By Zoe Pearson, Pension Claim Consulting Ltd.

Hartley Pensions Director causes panic to Pension Scheme members by threat of a “potential raid on your pension scheme”

Tony Flanagan, a director of Hartley Pensions Trustees Limited and Hartley SSAS, sent a letter to all the pensions scheme members this week blaming the FCA for pursuing an “aggressive position leading to the administration and closure of the business”.

The Financial conduct authority (FCA) has refuted these claims stating his accusations are factually incorrect.

So did Mr Flanagan’s overwhelming need to disperse any accusations of wrongdoing against himself or the firm cloud his judgement so much so that he was prepared to cause utter panic amongst Hartley’s members with threats of their pensions being raided?!

Mr Flanagan issued a stark and distressing email to all its members on Wednesday stating:

“I am writing to you because I believe that there may be an imminent risk that the value of your pension at Hartley Pensions Ltd (in Administration since 29 July 2022) will be reduced and that funds within your pension scheme will be used to fund administration and liquidation costs. If this occurs, it will have a real and significant impact on the value of your pension scheme.”

Alarmingly he went on to inform Hartley’s members that:

“Administration of the company will in due course lead to the liquidation of Hartley and the potential raid on your pension scheme.”

His communication in light the current financial crisis has understandably caused complete shock and upset to its members who were of course distraught at the prospect that any monies and assets they held could quite simply be taken by Hartley’s and used to pay for the liquidation process.

However, the FCA has refuted the claims made by Flanagan and said his letter contains ‘factual inaccuracies which may have caused customers concern’.

The FCA said that as customers’ pensions are held by trustee firms, which have not entered insolvency, these assets ‘are currently unaffected by the firm going into administration’.

The regulator added that it is duty of administrators to determine how costs of transferring Sipps to another provider are charged but that if any deductions are made from members’ Sipps then the administrators would first have to make an application to court which would have ultimate oversight.

Hartley’s administrators are aware of the letter sent by Flanagan. They said his claims are ‘factually incomplete and inaccurate’.

A disputed account

In his letter to members, Flanagan blamed the FCA for Hartley’s collapse, and claimed that it was ‘solvent on a cash flow and balance sheet basis’ and had received a ‘very positive’ review as recently as October 2021 from an FCA visit.

However, Flanagan said ‘for some reason’ that position from the regulator changed in February 2022.

Flanagan claims the FCA’s ‘aggressive position’ led to Hartley’s administration and blamed the regulator for a sale of the business collapsing.

The FCA however said it acted against Hartley because it found ‘serious operational, financial and regulatory issues’.

‘The firm entered into a number of voluntary requirements between February 2022 and June 2022,’ the FCA said today. ‘As a result of these issues, the FCA also requested that the firm go into an insolvency process in the interest of clients. The firm sought professional insolvency advice, and, as a result, the director determined that it was insolvent and took steps to place it into administration.’

My personal View

In light of the FCA’s response my conclusion seeing both communications can only be that this correspondence was scaremongering to gain the biggest impact for Mr Flanagan to air his views that the administration of Hartley Pensions was/is through no fault of their own, and quite simply that it is the FCA whom are the cause for any clients affected who could possibly now lose their monies – to which the FCA have quickly addressed these accusations as inaccurate.

Important Information!

You are not required to use our services to pursue your claim. You can also seek further advice or shop around subject to any time limits within which a claim must be made.

It is possible for you to present the claim for free, either to the firm or person against whom you wish to complain or to the statutory ombudsman (Financial Ombudsman Service or Pension Ombudsman Service) or the Financial Services Compensation Scheme, whichever is applicable to your claim.