MPs have raised the prospect that Sir Philip Green’s multimillion-pound superyacht and other assets could be seized to help plug the hole in the BHS pension fund, reports The Guardian.
The chairman of the House of Commons work and pensions committee, Frank Field, has written to the pensions regulator (TPR) seeking clarification as to its powers following the store chain’s collapse.
In particular, he asked whether it was possible to settle claims “through acquiring assets other than cash from a person or company from which payment is being sought”.
The committee published Field’s letter on its website as it prepared to take further evidence on BHS at a hearing on Wednesday with the TPR chief executive, Lesley Titcombe.
Green fuelled the anger over the demise of BHS, which he sold for just £1, when he was filmed over summer cruising the Mediterranean in his yacht Lionheart – reportedly worth £100m – while pensioners were left facing an uncertain future.
In a letter to the committee, Titcomb disclosed TPR had been “monitoring” the pension scheme for another arm of Sir Philip’s retail empire – the Arcadia group, which includes Topshop, Dorothy Perkins and Miss Selfridge.
“We continue to monitor the Arcadia scheme on an ongoing basis,” she wrote. “We will of course consider the impact of our discussions and investigation concerning the BHS pension schemes on the employer covenant and position of the Arcadia pension schemes.”
Field said: “We are pleased to see that the pensions regulator has used its powers to demand information from Arcadia about yet another of Sir Philip Green’s pension funds that is going deep into deficit, but it is a terrible concern that it has got to this stage again. Is Sir Philip going to ‘sort’ this one too?”