Handley Ash Retirement Benefits Scheme.

  • Frequently Asked Questions


    Why and When was Dalriada Trustees Limited (Dalriada) appointed?

    On 19 September 2013 Dalriada Trustees Limited (Dalriada) was appointed by Court Order as independent trustee to the Scheme.

    Dalriada was appointed as the Pensions Regulator had concerns that the Scheme was being used as a vehicle for ‘pension liberation’. Pensions liberation occurs where individuals are encouraged to transfer to new schemes in the expectation of getting early access to their pension fund (before the minimum retirement age of 55), either by way of a loan or some other form of cash inducement.

    Such payments are in breach of the Regulations that govern occupational pension schemes and can expose members to potentially significant tax charges.

    Dalriada was given exclusive powers to the Scheme which means that all trustee powers and rights are now held by Dalriada.

    Are the Scheme’s assets safe?

    Dalriada has obtained control of the scheme bank account.

    With regard to the investments made by the Scheme the position is as follows. Dalriada has established that around £1.6m was transferred into the Scheme by way of individual member transfer payments. £900,000 was paid over to International Financial Placements Limited  (IFPL), a company registered and regulated in Gibraltar.

    Of the remainder, about £137,000 was paid in fees to the previous trustees and their advisers and the balance, £563,000, held in cash.

    The money paid to IFPL was on short term deposit and has now been repaid together with interest.

    Will the value of my pension fund be reduced?

    Typically, schemes suspected of being used for pension liberation have funds that are invested in high risk investments, with part of the funds being paid to the members, with resulting tax risks, and the balance potentially liable to end up being worthless. It would appear, however, that the timing of the Pensions Regulator’s action has prevented pension liberation occurring in this particular case and has in turn safeguarded the Scheme’s assets.

    However in order to investigate the Scheme and how it operated before the appointment of Dalriada, compulsory work has been completed and still remains on-going. The cost of this work will be met from Scheme funds, an explanation of why is included under ‘What costs are being taken?’ Costs will therefore reduce the value of members’ benefits from the Scheme but please rest assured that Dalriada aim to minimise any costs incurred and that only essential work will be completed.

    What actions have you taken and what actions are you taking?

    Dalriada has received copies of member files from the previous administrators. Based on the records available we have now created proper administration records on our computer systems.

    As well as taking control of the Scheme’s bank account, Dalriada has also obtained copy bank statements for the Scheme. These have been reconciled against the available member files and we are now working to create the necessary accounting and financial records required to properly administer the Scheme.

    Dalriada remains unable to identify a number of members and their funds from the information available. It appears that some members originally transferred into a scheme of which Dalriada is not trustee, their benefits were then transferred and payments were made in bulk to the Handley Ash Retirement Benefits Scheme.

    Dalriada have requested further information in respect of the scheme in question in the hope that this will clarify the position with individual member benefits / transfers in. Until we can identify these funds, we remain unable to calculate member benefits, including transfers in. As soon as we have any further information in this regard, we will be in contact with all members.

    Dalriada understands members’ frustrations with the length of time being taken to resolve the issues but please be advised that we are doing all we can to get to a position of clarity as quickly as possible. As soon as we are at a point where we can calculate benefits, we will do so.

    What costs are being taken?

    Usually, where a scheme is an occupational scheme, some, if not all, of the costs of running the scheme would be met by the employer. The employer linked to the Scheme does not appear to have ever actively traded nor does it appear to have any assets or means to contribute to the costs of running the Scheme. This means that the costs of the previous trustees and its administrators and advisers, as well as Dalriada’s costs and legal costs, have been, and will continue to be, met from Scheme funds.

    Whilst Dalriada will do all it can to minimise costs, because of the number of complex issues associated with these types of scheme, not least the work involved in setting up proper administration records and trying to identify unknown payments into the Scheme, costs will be incurred and will therefore impact on the value of the Scheme’s funds.

    What is the value of my pension fund and when can I take my benefits?

    As detailed above, Dalriada currently cannot value members’ benefits within the Scheme. Work continues to complete the financial records of the Scheme and to finalise the Scheme membership. Until these records are complete, and the final cost of the work is known, Dalriada is not able to value members’ benefits.l

    Dalriada is progressing work relating to the Scheme as quickly as possible and will  inform members as soon as their benefit entitlement from the Scheme can be calculated.

    Can I transfer out of the Scheme to another registered pension scheme?

    Until Dalriada can place a value on members’ funds it will be unable to pay out any transfer values. It may be still be a number of months before any transfer values can be paid out. Similarly, and as mentioned above, we cannot agree to any type of benefits being taken at this point.

    I feel that I have been wrongly advised to transfer into the scheme. Who should I complain to?

    Dalriada’s role as Independent Trustee is to manage the Scheme in the best interests of the members.  If any member feels that they were wrongly advised to transfer into the Scheme then Dalriada cannot assist with this complaint.  You should immediately contact the firm that provided the advice.

    You can get free advice from organisations like the Citizens Advice Bureau or see the Money Advice Service’s tips on making a complaint.

    If a member has a complaint about any action taken by Dalriada then you should complain in the first instance to Dalriada.

    You may also find it helpful to read our page about the regulation of pension schemes.  If you wish to speak to someone independent of Dalriada, The Pensions Advisory Serviceprovides a free, independent source of advice.

    If you wish to find out more about pension scams in general further information is available from the Pensions Regulator  and the Financial Conduct Authority.

    What should I do if I have any further questions?

    If you are a member of the Scheme and have a personal question, please contact Dalriada in one of the following ways:

    By telephoning our helpline for members
    02890 850934

    By Post:
    Dalriada Trustees Limited
    Linen Loft
    27-37 Adelaide Street
    BT2 8FE

    By e-mailing handleyadmin@dalriadatrustees.co.uk

    By using the Get in Touch form on our website.