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News Article | April 22, 2017
Site: www.theguardian.com

When BHS crashed into administration, taking 11,000 jobs along with it a year ago, one employee described the feeling as a “terrible gut-punch”. A year on, the high street is still reeling from the body blow. More than two-thirds of the retailer’s 164 stores are still lying empty and its pensioners have been left worse off, even after former owner Sir Philip Green agreed to pump up to £363m into supporting the pension scheme. For many long-serving BHS staff, the chain’s failure marked a turning point in their lives from which they are yet to recover financially. And regardless of the passage of time, the stabbing finger of blame is still being pointed at Green who, despite his role in the unravelling of BHS, has clung on to his knighthood. “I’m annoyed about what happened,” says one former employee, who hasn’t yet found a new job. “It should never have come to that. At store level, we were a group of people that worked well together and worked hard.” He adds: “The only reason Green couldn’t turn BHS around was because he never invested in it. We had outdated fixtures and fittings, asbestos and outdated lifts that didn’t work because no money was being spent on them. He starved it.” Most BHS staff received very little redundancy pay, even though some had spent decades at the group. This month just over 100 former BHS workers were awarded up to £1m in compensation because proper procedures were not followed when they were let go by the administrators. In the wake of last year’s failure, the Fashion and Textile Children’s Trust (FTCT), a hardship charity once chaired by Charles Dickens, was inundated with requests for help from BHS staff. The trust, founded in 1853 by a group of philanthropic textile merchants, received applications from a record 460 families in the last six months of 2016, with 274 relating to former BHS workers. Its small grants, which start at £250, are designed to help families meet the cost of essentials like school uniforms or winter clothing. The surge in the number of claims compared with a total of 150 for 2015 as a whole. The FTCT is currently offering its support to Jaeger staff, who are facing an uncertain outlook after the business went under earlier this month. Last week, 209 of its 680 staff were made redundant after administrators announced plans to close 20 of its 46 stores. “We are seeing an increase in applications,” says FTCT director Anna Pangbourne. “It’s a well-documented fact that the retail sector is facing challenging times and this is an indication of that.” The fact that Britain’s unemployment rate has fallen to its joint lowest level since 1975 belies the experience of thousands of BHS staff, who have struggled to find an equivalent job with a contract and regular hours. The jobless rate may be just 4.7% but official records show the number of people on zero-hours contracts hit a record high of 905,000 in the final three months of 2016. That was an increase of 101,000, or 13%, compared with the same period a year earlier. Last year, research by industry trade body the British Retail Consortium (BRC) identified a “lost generation” of predominantly female shop workers who – as thousands of BHS staff would find out – risk losing their jobs as structural change chews up the high street. It estimated there were nearly 500,000 retail workers, aged between 26 and 45, many of whom have children and need to work close to their family home, who would find it hard to find alternative jobs. Using the benchmark of those earning less than £8.05 an hour, the BRC says 1.5 million people work in low-paid UK retail jobs. About 70% are female and one in five receive means-tested working age tax credits. Norman Pickavance, chair of the Fabian Society taskforce on the future of retail, says the majority of companies in the sector are trying to save money by moving towards less secure employment models. “There are more and more zero-hours-type contracts and self employment,” he says. “A year on from the demise of BHS, most retailers are continuing down that route of flexibility but there is a risk to them from Brexit. They have only been able to use these methods because of the abundance of labour and might have to rethink.” For many former BHS staff, Green remains the villain of the piece. In 2015 he sold BHS, complete with a hefty pension deficit of more than £500m, for £1 to a consortium of investors led by former bankrupt Dominic Chappell, seemingly without a qualm. After a drawn-out negotiation process, Green finally agreed a deal with the Pensions Regulator in February that involves the creation of a new pension scheme, which will be funded by his cash injection. BHS workers will have the option of moving their pension into the new scheme, receiving a lump-sum payment, or remaining in the existing pension scheme, which will enter the Pension Protection Fund (PPF) and see a 10% cut to existing benefits. Lin Macmillan, a BHS pensioner who worked as a manager for the retailer in the 1980s, says she was pleased that Green had put some money into the pension fund but the future for pensioners was still not as good as it could have been. “I think he thinks that because he paid up, he’s exonerated himself but I don’t think anybody who worked in BHS feels any better about him than they did a year ago. He’s still swanning around spending money like it’s going out of fashion. We’ve got to wait a few months before we hear the detail about our pensions.” The BHS drama has played out during a period of massive structural change in the retail sector as established chains adapt their businesses to a world in which 20% of their sales are online. Last week, both Marks & Spencer and Debenhams announced store closures as their respective new management teams attempt to square the cost of large physical store chains with changing shopper habits. M&S had already warned it planned to close 30 UK stores as it looks to slash the amount of shopfloor space devoted to selling clothing and last week’s news of the high street veteran’s retreat from prominent locations in places like Portsmouth, Slough, Warrington and Wokingham will be a blow to locals. This trend is writ larger in the US, where analysts are talking about a “retail apocalypse”, as main street veterans like Macy’s and Sears line up to announce major store closure programmes. With American Apparel, Abercrombie & Fitch and JCPenney also axing stores, hundreds of American shopping mall outlets are closing for good. The cost in job terms has been stark, with more than 89,000 retail positions eliminated over the last six months. New York-based Global Data analyst Neil Saunders says the US and UK retail markets are not mirror images, with the American woes resulting from the fallout from a belated move by store chiefs to address the threat posed by the internet. “There is certainly a parallel between BHS and players like Sears and Macy’s,” says Saunders. “All of them fall into the trap of lacking differentiation and having an offer that is very middle of the road. This doesn’t cut it in today’s cutthroat market, where the consumer has so much choice.” With more than five times more retail square footage per person than the UK, American store chiefs have also got a bigger problem on their hands than their British counterparts. “In terms of online penetration, the US is where the UK was five or so years ago,” continues Saunders. “What we are seeing is large US retailers scrabbling to adjust.” He adds: “Generally, UK retail is at a much later evolutionary stage than the US. There has already been quite a lot of adjustment in terms of the closure and adaptation of physical space. That said, the sector remains highly pressured which makes further shocks, like the closure of BHS, inevitable.” M&S has almost 1,000 stores in the UK but 304 of them are the large “full-line” outlets that sell clothing, homeware and food. While locals wring their hands at the prospect of their store closing, City analysts want chief executive Steve Rowe to take more drastic action. Ditto new Debenhams boss Sergio Bucher, who said last week that 10 of its 176 stores could be closed. Local Data Company analyst Matthew Hopkinson says the closures announced by M&S and Debenhams are tinkering at the edges, given that new brands entering the UK market could happily cover the country with 30 stores and a website. “The number of stores M&S is going to close is peanuts,” says Hopkinson. UK store chiefs are facing tough decisions at a time when trading patterns are being upset by uncertainty surrounding Brexit, with retail sales figures for the first quarter of 2017 showing the biggest drop in purchases in the last seven years. A squeeze on living standards triggered by sterling’s weakness is also pushing up prices. “Looking ahead, productivity is a big issue in the US and the UK,” says Saunders. “Profit margins are under pressure from the constant discounting and price reductions which are needed to cope with stiff competition. On top of this, costs are problematic, thanks to increases in business rates in the UK and minimum wage hikes in both countries. All of this adds up to a perfect storm which means retailers are rethinking and reconfiguring their business models.” A year on from the collapse of BHS, most of the key protagonists have moved on, although former owner Dominic Chappell still faces possible legal action. Sir Philip Green Green still has his knighthood despite MPs last year demanding that the “billionaire spiv” be stripped of the honour. In a fiery Commons debate Iain Wright, Labour chair of the business select committee, said: “Sir Philip received his knighthood for services to retail. However, throughout the course of our inquiry, it became increasingly evident that he wasn’t particularly good at retail at all.” However, the parliamentary vote holds no legal power, and the decision on whether to strip the billionaire of his gong will ultimately be made by the honours forfeiture committee. Dominic Chappell The former Le Mans racing driver bought BHS from Green for just £1 in March 2015. The Pensions Regulator is pursuing legal action against Chappell and his company, Retail Acquisitions Ltd (RAL), for £71m it wants them to stump up for BHS pensioners. RAL had received payments of up to £25m from BHS despite owning the department store chain for just 13 months until it collapsed. Chappell has pledged to fight back in the courts. Darren Topp The former chief executive of BHS told MPs Chappell had threatened to kill him for challenging him about a £1.5m transfer out of the company.(Chappell has denied this.) In September Topp was appointed chief executive of fashion brand LK Bennett. Michael Hitchcock A former financial consultant at BHS, Hitchcock was scathing of Chappell during the parliamentary inquiry. “ I think I was duped,” Hitchcock said when asked about Chappell. He is now working with Topp as chief financial officer at LK Bennett. Michael Sherwood A prominent figure in British banking, Michael Sherwood was co-head of Europe at Goldman Sachs when the bank advised Green on the sale of BHS. the department store chain to Chappell had he not passed an informal vetting by the bank. Appearing before MPs last year, Sherwood insisted that Goldman had “done a good job of highlighting the risks” of the deal, but would have done “substantially more” had it been paid. He resigned in November, but insisted BHS had nothing to do with his departure, saying it was “one blip in a 30-year career”. Rupert Neate


News Article | May 5, 2017
Site: www.theguardian.com

Retail Acquisitions, the former owner of the collapsed BHS, is on the point of liquidation, potentially helping investigations into the demise of the department store chain. The group, which bought BHS for £1 in 2015 and was fronted by former bankrupt Dominic Chappell, has been accused of extracting an estimated £17m from BHS despite owning it for just 13 months before it went into administration in 2016. An estimated £6m was owed by Retail Acquisitions to BHS when it collapsed. The failure of BHS led to the loss of 11,000 jobs and left a £571m pension deficit. A high-profile parliamentary investigation into its demise concluded that the company had been systematically plundered by its owners and accused Chappell of having “his fingers in the till”. The Pensions Regulator is also understood to be seeking as much as £17m via legal action against Chappell and Retail Acquisitions (RAL) in relation to the pension deficit. On Wednesday the high court heard insolvency proceedings for Retail Acquisitions, and the judge ruled it should be put into liquidation. The judgment has been temporarily stayed and is expected to be formally handed down in the next few days. Duff & Phelps, which is acting to track and retrieve BHS assets for the company and its creditors, said: “Duff & Phelps, acting on behalf of BHS Group Ltd, is satisfied that RAL has been put into liquidation. The process of realising the assets of RAL can now commence to the benefit of all the creditors of the BHS companies.” The insolvency will give administrators complete financial records of RAL giving clarity on where funds taken from BHS were moved on to with a view to potentially recovering them for shareholders. Chappell said: “RAL is disappointed by the outcome of the hearing … The order has been stayed by the court until its written reasons are provided so that RAL has an opportunity to properly consider an appeal. “It will look forward to those written reasons and will then be able to take advice and decide next steps, to include an appeal.” The collapse of BHS is still being investigated by the Insolvency Service which could recommend that former directors of BHS are banned from being company directors in Britain. The Financial Reporting Council is also looking into the collapse, while the Serious Fraud Office is also considering whether to launch a formal investigation. Chappell was also arrested last year as part of an HMRC investigation into unpaid taxes on profits made from the collapsed department store chain.


NEW YORK, NY / ACCESSWIRE / May 2, 2017 / The following statement is being issued by Levi & Korsinsky, LLP: To: All persons or entities who purchased or otherwise acquired shares of Walter Investment Management Corp. ("Walter Investment") (NYSE: WAC) between May 3, 2016 and March 13, 2017. You are hereby notified that Levi & Korsinsky has commenced the class action Petrovets v. Walter Investment Management Corp., et al. (Case No. 8:17-cv-00695-RAL-AEP) in the USDC for the Middle District of Florida. Click here to view the complaint. To get more information go to: http://www.zlk.com/pslra/walter-investment?wire=1 or contact Joseph E. Levi, Esq. either via email at jlevi@levikorsinsky.com or by telephone at (212) 363-7500, toll-free: (877) 363-5972. There is no cost or obligation to you. The complaint alleges that throughout the class period Walter Investment made materially false and misleading statements about its financial condition, largely because: (1) the Company was involved in fraudulent practices that violated the False Claims Act; (2) the Company's Ditech subsidiary had a material weakness in its internal control over operational processes; and (3) resultantly, the Company lacked adequate internal controls over financial reporting. Take Action: if you suffered a loss in Walter Investment you have until May 15, 2017 to request that the Court appoint you as lead plaintiff. Your ability to share in any recovery doesn't require that you serve as a lead plaintiff. Levi & Korsinsky is a national firm with offices in New York, California, Connecticut, and Washington D.C. The firm's attorneys have extensive expertise and experience representing investors in securities litigation, and have recovered hundreds of millions of dollars for aggrieved shareholders. Attorney advertising. Prior results do not guarantee similar outcomes. NEW YORK, NY / ACCESSWIRE / May 2, 2017 / The following statement is being issued by Levi & Korsinsky, LLP: To: All persons or entities who purchased or otherwise acquired shares of Walter Investment Management Corp. ("Walter Investment") (NYSE: WAC) between May 3, 2016 and March 13, 2017. You are hereby notified that Levi & Korsinsky has commenced the class action Petrovets v. Walter Investment Management Corp., et al. (Case No. 8:17-cv-00695-RAL-AEP) in the USDC for the Middle District of Florida. Click here to view the complaint. To get more information go to: http://www.zlk.com/pslra/walter-investment?wire=1 or contact Joseph E. Levi, Esq. either via email at jlevi@levikorsinsky.com or by telephone at (212) 363-7500, toll-free: (877) 363-5972. There is no cost or obligation to you. The complaint alleges that throughout the class period Walter Investment made materially false and misleading statements about its financial condition, largely because: (1) the Company was involved in fraudulent practices that violated the False Claims Act; (2) the Company's Ditech subsidiary had a material weakness in its internal control over operational processes; and (3) resultantly, the Company lacked adequate internal controls over financial reporting. Take Action: if you suffered a loss in Walter Investment you have until May 15, 2017 to request that the Court appoint you as lead plaintiff. Your ability to share in any recovery doesn't require that you serve as a lead plaintiff. Levi & Korsinsky is a national firm with offices in New York, California, Connecticut, and Washington D.C. The firm's attorneys have extensive expertise and experience representing investors in securities litigation, and have recovered hundreds of millions of dollars for aggrieved shareholders. Attorney advertising. Prior results do not guarantee similar outcomes.


NEW YORK, NY / ACCESSWIRE / April 21, 2017 / The following statement is being issued by Levi & Korsinsky, LLP: To: All persons or entities who purchased or otherwise acquired shares of Walter Investment Management Corp. ("Walter Investment") (NYSE: WAC) between May 3, 2016 and March 13, 2017. You are hereby notified that Levi & Korsinsky has commenced the class action Petrovets v. Walter Investment Management Corp., et al. (Case No. 8:17-cv-00695-RAL-AEP) in the USDC for the Middle District of Florida. Click here to view the complaint. To get more information go to: http://www.zlk.com/pslra/walter-investment?wire=1 or contact Joseph E. Levi, Esq. either via email at jlevi@levikorsinsky.com or by telephone at (212) 363-7500, toll-free: (877) 363-5972. There is no cost or obligation to you. The complaint alleges that throughout the class period Walter Investment made materially false and misleading statements about its financial condition, largely because: (1) the Company was involved in fraudulent practices that violated the False Claims Act; (2) the Company's Ditech subsidiary had a material weakness in its internal control over operational processes; and (3) resultantly, the Company lacked adequate internal controls over financial reporting. Take Action: if you suffered a loss in Walter Investment you have until May 15, 2017 to request that the Court appoint you as lead plaintiff. Your ability to share in any recovery doesn't require that you serve as a lead plaintiff. Levi & Korsinsky is a national firm with offices in New York, California, Connecticut, and Washington D.C. The firm's attorneys have extensive expertise and experience representing investors in securities litigation, and have recovered hundreds of millions of dollars for aggrieved shareholders. Attorney advertising. Prior results do not guarantee similar outcomes. NEW YORK, NY / ACCESSWIRE / April 21, 2017 / The following statement is being issued by Levi & Korsinsky, LLP: To: All persons or entities who purchased or otherwise acquired shares of Walter Investment Management Corp. ("Walter Investment") (NYSE: WAC) between May 3, 2016 and March 13, 2017. You are hereby notified that Levi & Korsinsky has commenced the class action Petrovets v. Walter Investment Management Corp., et al. (Case No. 8:17-cv-00695-RAL-AEP) in the USDC for the Middle District of Florida. Click here to view the complaint. To get more information go to: http://www.zlk.com/pslra/walter-investment?wire=1 or contact Joseph E. Levi, Esq. either via email at jlevi@levikorsinsky.com or by telephone at (212) 363-7500, toll-free: (877) 363-5972. There is no cost or obligation to you. The complaint alleges that throughout the class period Walter Investment made materially false and misleading statements about its financial condition, largely because: (1) the Company was involved in fraudulent practices that violated the False Claims Act; (2) the Company's Ditech subsidiary had a material weakness in its internal control over operational processes; and (3) resultantly, the Company lacked adequate internal controls over financial reporting. Take Action: if you suffered a loss in Walter Investment you have until May 15, 2017 to request that the Court appoint you as lead plaintiff. Your ability to share in any recovery doesn't require that you serve as a lead plaintiff. Levi & Korsinsky is a national firm with offices in New York, California, Connecticut, and Washington D.C. The firm's attorneys have extensive expertise and experience representing investors in securities litigation, and have recovered hundreds of millions of dollars for aggrieved shareholders. Attorney advertising. Prior results do not guarantee similar outcomes.


NEW YORK, NY / ACCESSWIRE / May 2, 2017 / The following statement is being issued by Levi & Korsinsky, LLP: To: All persons or entities who purchased or otherwise acquired shares of Walter Investment Management Corp. ("Walter Investment") (NYSE: WAC) between May 3, 2016 and March 13, 2017 . You are hereby notified that Levi & Korsinsky has commenced the class action Petrovets v. Walter Investment Management Corp., et al. (Case No. 8:17-cv-00695-RAL-AEP) in the USDC for the Middle District of Florida. Click here to view the complaint. To get more information go to: or contact Joseph E. Levi, Esq. either via email at [email protected] or by telephone at (212) 363-7500, toll-free: (877) 363-5972. There is no cost or obligation to you. The complaint alleges that throughout the class period Walter Investment made materially false and misleading statements about its financial condition, largely because: (1) the Company was involved in fraudulent practices that violated the False Claims Act; (2) the Company's Ditech subsidiary had a material weakness in its internal control over operational processes; and (3) resultantly, the Company lacked adequate internal controls over financial reporting. Take Action: if you suffered a loss in Walter Investment you have until to request that the Court appoint you as lead plaintiff. Your ability to share in any recovery doesn't require that you serve as a lead plaintiff. Levi & Korsinsky is a national firm with offices in New York, California, Connecticut, and Washington D.C. The firm's attorneys have extensive expertise and experience representing investors in securities litigation, and have recovered hundreds of millions of dollars for aggrieved shareholders. Attorney advertising. Prior results do not guarantee similar outcomes.


NEW YORK, April 24, 2017 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The following statement is being issued by Levi & Korsinsky, LLP: To: All persons or entities who purchased or otherwise acquired shares of Walter Investment Management Corp. (“Walter Investment”) (NYSE:WAC) between May 3, 2016 and March 13, 2017. You are hereby notified that Levi & Korsinsky has commenced the class action Petrovets v. Walter Investment Management Corp., et al. (Case No. 8:17-cv-00695-RAL-AEP) in the USDC for the Middle District of Florida. Click here to view the complaint. To get more information go to: or contact Joseph E. Levi, Esq. either via email at jlevi@levikorsinsky.com or by telephone at (212) 363-7500, toll-free: (877) 363-5972. There is no cost or obligation to you. The complaint alleges that throughout the class period Walter Investment made materially false and misleading statements about its financial condition, largely because: (1) the Company was involved in fraudulent practices that violated the False Claims Act; (2) the Company’s Ditech subsidiary had a material weakness in its internal control over operational processes; and (3) resultantly, the Company lacked adequate internal controls over financial reporting. Take Action: if you suffered a loss in Walter Investment you have until May 15, 2017 to request that the Court appoint you as lead plaintiff. Your ability to share in any recovery doesn’t require that you serve as a lead plaintiff. Levi & Korsinsky is a national firm with offices in New York, California, Connecticut, and Washington D.C. The firm’s attorneys have extensive expertise and experience representing investors in securities litigation, and have recovered hundreds of millions of dollars for aggrieved shareholders. Attorney advertising. Prior results do not guarantee similar outcomes.


News Article | April 28, 2017
Site: www.businesswire.com

HAWTHORNE, N.J.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--CCOM Group, Inc. (“CCOM”) (OTC Pink: “CCOM,” “CCOMP”), announced its financial results for the year ended December 31, 2016. Results for the year ended December 31, 2016 compared to results for the same period in 2015: CCOM Group, Inc. (“CCOM”) distributes heating, ventilating and air conditioning equipment (HVAC), parts and accessories, whole-house generators, climate control systems, and plumbing and electrical fixtures and supplies, primarily in New Jersey, New York, Massachusetts and portions of eastern Pennsylvania, Connecticut and Vermont through its subsidiaries: Universal Supply Group, Inc., www.usginc.com, The RAL Supply Group, Inc., www.ralsupply.com, and S&A Supply, Inc., www.sasupplyinc.com. CCOM is headquartered in New Jersey, and, with its affiliates, operates out of 17 locations in its geographic trading area. For more information on CCOM’s operations, products and/or services, please visit www.ccomgrp.com.


NEW YORK, NY / ACCESSWIRE / May 4, 2017 / The following statement is being issued by Levi & Korsinsky, LLP: To: All persons or entities who purchased or otherwise acquired shares of Walter Investment Management Corp. ("Walter Investment") (NYSE: WAC) between May 3, 2016 and March 13, 2017 . You are hereby notified that Levi & Korsinsky has commenced the class action Petrovets v. Walter Investment Management Corp., et al. (Case No. 8:17-cv-00695-RAL-AEP) in the USDC for the Middle District of Florida. Click here to view the complaint. To get more information go to: or contact Joseph E. Levi, Esq. either via email at [email protected] or by telephone at (212) 363-7500, toll-free: (877) 363-5972. There is no cost or obligation to you. The complaint alleges that throughout the class period Walter Investment made materially false and misleading statements about its financial condition, largely because: (1) the Company was involved in fraudulent practices that violated the False Claims Act; (2) the Company's Ditech subsidiary had a material weakness in its internal control over operational processes; and (3) resultantly, the Company lacked adequate internal controls over financial reporting. Take Action: if you suffered a loss in Walter Investment you have until to request that the Court appoint you as lead plaintiff. Your ability to share in any recovery doesn't require that you serve as a lead plaintiff. Levi & Korsinsky is a national firm with offices in New York, California, Connecticut, and Washington D.C. The firm's attorneys have extensive expertise and experience representing investors in securities litigation, and have recovered hundreds of millions of dollars for aggrieved shareholders. Attorney advertising. Prior results do not guarantee similar outcomes.


NEW YORK, NY / ACCESSWIRE / April 21, 2017 / The following statement is being issued by Levi & Korsinsky, LLP: To: All persons or entities who purchased or otherwise acquired shares of Walter Investment Management Corp. ("Walter Investment") (NYSE: WAC) between May 3, 2016 and March 13, 2017 . You are hereby notified that Levi & Korsinsky has commenced the class action Petrovets v. Walter Investment Management Corp., et al. (Case No. 8:17-cv-00695-RAL-AEP) in the USDC for the Middle District of Florida. Click here to view the complaint. To get more information go to: or contact Joseph E. Levi, Esq. either via email at [email protected] or by telephone at (212) 363-7500, toll-free: (877) 363-5972. There is no cost or obligation to you. The complaint alleges that throughout the class period Walter Investment made materially false and misleading statements about its financial condition, largely because: (1) the Company was involved in fraudulent practices that violated the False Claims Act; (2) the Company's Ditech subsidiary had a material weakness in its internal control over operational processes; and (3) resultantly, the Company lacked adequate internal controls over financial reporting. Take Action: if you suffered a loss in Walter Investment you have until to request that the Court appoint you as lead plaintiff. Your ability to share in any recovery doesn't require that you serve as a lead plaintiff. Levi & Korsinsky is a national firm with offices in New York, California, Connecticut, and Washington D.C. The firm's attorneys have extensive expertise and experience representing investors in securities litigation, and have recovered hundreds of millions of dollars for aggrieved shareholders. Attorney advertising. Prior results do not guarantee similar outcomes.


News Article | March 1, 2017
Site: www.theguardian.com

Dominic Chappell, the last owner of BHS, has pledged to fight legal action by the Pensions Regulator designed to force him to pay millions of pounds into the failed retailer’s pension scheme, saying the black hole in the scheme was not his fault. The regulator has agreed a £363m cash settlement with Sir Philip Green to rescue the BHS pension scheme and halted legal proceedings against the billionaire. However, it is continuing with legal action against Chappell and his company Retail Acquisitions and is understood to be seeking as much as £17m. Green owned BHS for 15 years until he sold it to Chappell, a former bankrupt with no retail experience, for just £1 in March 2015. Retail Acquisitions (RAL) received payments of up to £25m from BHS despite owning the department store chain for just 13 months until it collapsed. A spokesman for Retail Acquisitions said: “Any action brought by the Pensions Regulator will be robustly defended because RAL did not cause or add to the pension deficit, that shortfall was built up during the previous ownership.” The failure of BHS led to the loss of 11,000 jobs and left a £571m pension deficit. A high-profile parliamentary investigation into its demise concluded that the company had been systematically plundered by its owners and accused Chappell of having “his fingers in the till”. The Retail Acquisitions spokesman said: “Dominic Chappell is currently working very hard with the liquidator to recover and preserve nearly £50m, which will benefit the creditors and BHS pensioners.” The ongoing enforcement action by the Pensions Regulator shows the settlement with Green is not the end of one of the biggest corporate scandals in Britain. The collapse of BHS is still being investigated by the Insolvency Service which could recommend that former directors of BHS are banned from being company directors in Britain. The Financial Reporting Council is also looking into the collapse, while the Serious Fraud Office is also considering whether to launch a formal investigation. The deal between Green and the Pensions Regulator has received a mixed reception. Although the settlement is endorsed by the trustees of the BHS pension scheme, workers are still very likely to have cuts to their pension benefits. The Pensions Regulator estimates that workers will on average receive about 88% of the value of their original benefits in a new pension scheme created by the settlement. This is a better outcome than if the scheme had entered the Pension Protection Fund, a lifeboat for failed pension schemes, where workers would have received an estimated 75% to 79%. Green initially pledged to “sort” the problems facing the BHS pension scheme last June when he was questioned by MPs. He has already paid more than £343m into an escrow account as part of the settlement. An additional £20m will be spent on expenses and implementing the changes to the BHS pension scheme.

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