Stick to rules to stop an­other BHS col­lapse, say MPs

The People - - NEWS FEATURES & -

MPs are urg­ing sweep­ing re­forms to pre­vent an­other dis­as­ter like BHS with 11,000 job losses and a £571mil­lion pen­sion black­hole.

They want pri­vate and pub­liclylisted firms to face the same level of scru­tiny.

They be­lieve large pri­vate com­pa­nies should stick to rules from in­de­pen­dent reg­u­la­tor the Fi­nan­cial Re­port­ing Coun­cil about board lead­er­ship and, for pub­lic firms, on pay and share­hold­ers.

The work and pen­sions com­mit­tee MPs also think di­rec­tors at pri­vate busi­nesses should be ac­count­able to pen­sion­ers through their scheme’s trustees.

Com­mit­tee chair­man Frank Field said BHS’s col­lapse last April was trig­gered by “gross fail­ures of cor­po­rate gov­er­nance” and j ust be­ing ac­count­able share­hold­ers was not enough.

He asked: “Would the story have played out the same way if its di­rec­tors had to be open about the fi­nan­cial de­ci­sions they were making for its fu­ture?

“The fi­nances and lead­er­ship of a com­pany with so many peo­ple de­pend­ing on it should be open to scru­tiny.” The rec­om­men­da­tions to came as cor­re­spon­dence be­tween the com­mit­tee and Ar­ca­dia Group’s Sir Philip Green, who sold BHS to a se­rial bank­rupt in 2015 for £1, was re­leased.

Ac­cord­ing to MPs, Ar­ca­dia’s pen­sion deficit is up to more than £200 mil­lion, from £190mil­lion in Au­gust 2015. It re­buffed Mr Field’s re­quests for up- to- date de­tails about the pen­sion fund.

BLASTED: Philip Green

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