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Banned pension trustee has appeal denied at Tribunal

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A former pension scheme trustee who tried to appeal a ban from The Pensions Regulator nearly five years after he was struck off has had his case thrown out by the Upper Tribunal.

The regulator sought to ban Robert Hill through a notice issued in October 2011. TPR alleged Hill was not a “fit and proper person” to be a scheme trustee after finding that Hill and other trustees of the Hugh Mackay Retirement Benefits Scheme had breached occupational pension scheme regulations that left members with a risky portfolio that included a high concentration of property assets.

Hill did not refer the decision notice to the Tribunal until 12 September this year, four years and nine months out of time for an appeal.

He said stress and anxiety from being under investigation for four and a half years from December 2009 to September 2014 by regulators and other bodies had led to the delay.

According to the Tribunal decision, these investigations resulted in the new scheme trustee issuing civil proceedings against the former trustees for more than £20m.

Hill has also since tried to set up a new company but, as a banned trustee, his bank would not accept him as a director and he was not allowed to own more than 20 per cent of the issued share capital and his integrity was called into question.

The Tribunal notice says: “[Hill] said that the original allegations against him, namely that he had been accused of fraud and criminality but which were not eventually established, meant that he has been regarded, at best, with deep suspicion, and at worst, as someone not be trusted, by many people he had previously dealt with. This had severely impacted on his standing in the business community in the North East. As a result, he had been unable to borrow money from lenders, which is vital in his business, as when they Google his name up comes all the old accusations made in the press which he has tried and failed to get removed.”

The notice adds: “Mr Hill also says that there are many other things, including health issues, which have plagued him since then, the latest of which is not being able to be a director of any new company. That was for him the ‘final straw’ and it is anger at the many injustices he has suffered over the years that has prompted him to bring this case now. He expresses his belief that there should be no time limit on justice and therefore should be allowed to make a late reference.”

However, The tribunal said the delay was a “long one” and that there was no good reason for it. It said there would be resource implications for the regulator if the appeal was allowed.

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