Membership Records

The loss of fund membership records was a determinative factor in MCP Pension Trustees Ltd v Aon Pension Trustees Ltd [2009] EWHC 1351 (Ch); [2010] EWCA Civ 377

Some 32 members of a different plan were transferred into the scheme. The defendant allegedly failed to maintain the scheme records properly with the result that some of the names of the transferees were removed.

 

    The respondents in this case are the trustees of Maxwell Communication Works Pension Scheme (“the works scheme”). This is a final salary occupational pension scheme. The claimant provided administration services to the works scheme from around 1992 to late 1997. Between 1988 and January 1996 the works scheme took a transfer of lenders and assets from another Maxwell group occupational pension scheme, namely the Deimer &  Reynolds Limited Retirement and Death Benefit Plan (“the D & R scheme”). In particular there was a transfer of 32 members from the D & R scheme (“the D & R transferees”) together with the relevant assets. By an error which the respondent contends was due to the negligence of the appellants, the transferees were wrongly recorded as being members of the staff scheme rather than the works scheme. The trustee of the works scheme bought out the members’ benefits between 1997 and 2003. There was an apparent surplus of some £2.67 million after meeting the liabilities and these were used to provide bonuses to the members. However, none of these 32 members were considered in the course of the buyout and they did not have benefits secured by the works scheme. It is accepted that the trustees had genuinely forgotten of the existence of these members.

 

Lady Justice Arden noted in the Court of Appeal

“In addition, of course, it is always open to a trustee who is in doubt as to his position to apply to the court for directions.”

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