Judge who is now chair of the Institute of Directors (IOD) has called on the retail tycoon to compensate BHS pensioners: “He should be writing a cheque and saying ‘I’m sorry'”.
Speaking on The BBC Radio 5 live program, Wake up to Money, Judge said that the Pensions regulator needed to be given more power to stop a situation like this occurring again.
“My proposal is that the pension regulator or some other agency be set up like the competitions and markets authority that every time a corporate transaction of a certain size takes place with a pension fund of a certain size… a filing would be made by the parties it interested.
“Under my scenario we would have a pensions regulator that looked at every pension fund in the country and then had an obligation to talk to those pension funds about what they were doing.”
Her comments echo those of MP Frank Field who was co-author of a parliamentary report into the demise. He’s called on the Serious Fraud Office to launch a formal inquiry into the actions of the department store chain’s former owners, he wrote in a letter to the SFO’s director: “in the light of the extraordinary evidence” received by both committees, the investigatory body should examine whether money was “moved in such a way as to attempt to mislead people into believing Mr Chappell was a credible buyer for BHS”.
Sir Philip Green hit back at with his own letter to the MP saying “defamatory remarks” by Mr Field put a solution “at risk” and the process and timetable for solving the issue was set by the Pensions Regulator, although he admitted it was “cumbersome and slow”.
Sir Philip added: “But you should be in no doubt, Mr Field, that any solution relies on a voluntary decision on our side to support the BHS pension schemes. There is no legal liability to make any payment to support the schemes.
“Indeed, I am unaware of any precedent for any private company or individual doing so.”