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Pension Protection Fund Pushing For New Administrator At Laura Ashley

Laura Ashley store Milton Keynes.jpg

Sky News has reported that the Pension Protection Fund wants a second corporate administrator appointed to oversee an investigation into the collapse of Laura Ashley, which was sold to Gordon Brothers, the global advisory, restructuring, and investment firm last month. 

The Pension Protection Fund is a statutory fund in the United Kingdom, intended to protect members if their defined benefits pension fund becomes insolvent. It was created under the Pensions Act 2004. The Board of the PPF is a statutory corporation responsible for managing the Fund and for making payments to members. 

The Pension Protection Fund is pushing for FRP Advisory to work alongside PwC, which was appointed as administrator in March 2020. Rob Lewis and Zelf Hussain initially represented PwC and were joined by Rachel Wilkinson, a PwC director, after Laura Ashley's counsel expressed concern about the fact that Mr Lewis “has a lot of competing duties”.

Sources told Sky News that PPF, which is understood to be responsible for paying the pension benefits of the brand's staff who are still unclear about their future, wants "a second pair of eyes" to review the investigations into the events prior to its demise. 

Initially, it was expected that over 700 members of staff were made redundant but the introduction of the government's Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme meant that this was reduced to 268, with 1,669 furloughed until further notice.

Seventy of the 147 UK stores have been closed permanently. 

FRP was previously appointed as joint administrator of BHS, which collapsed in 2016, after the PPF expressed concern over the complexities of the relationships between the former owners.

In recent weeks, furloughed Laura Ashley employees have volunteered to make scrubs for the NHS. 

Source : Insight DIY Team

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14 May 2020

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