The Pensions Regulator has begun enforcement action to secure redress for 20,000 members of the BHS pension schemes.
It says it has issued warning notices to former BHS owner Sir Philip Green, Dominic Chappell and Retail Acquisitions, which bought the now collapsed department store from Green.
Related companies Taveta Investments and Taveta Investments (no.2) have also been issued with warning notices.
TPR says the moves follows a complex investigation, with each warning notice running to over 300 pages.
The warning notice set out TPR’s case for why each party is liable to support the BHS pension schemes, following the sale of the business in March 2015.
Green and Chappell and their firms have to respond to the warning notices within a set timeframe, before the case is passed to TPR’s determinations panel which will decide if the parties need to put in place ongoing support for the pension schemes.
TPR chief executive Lesley Titcomb says: “Our decision to launch enforcement action is an important milestone in our work to attain redress for the thousands of members of BHS schemes who have been placed in this position through no fault of their own.
“Issuing warning notices at this time reflects the outcome of our investigations and that we are yet to receive a sufficiently credible and comprehensive offer in respect of the BHS schemes.
“We continue to pursue the best deal for members of the BHS pension schemes. If parties wish to approach us with settlement offers, that course remains open to them.”