Appropriate level of contribution notice

The Pensions Regulator has settled its dispute with Van de Wiele ("VdeW") in relation to the Bonas Group Pension Scheme.

The Pensions Regulator first issued a contribution notice ("CN") of £5 m to VdeW in April 2010 following the pre-pack administration sale of the employer, Bonas. VdeW appealed unsuccessfully to the Upper Tribunal to have the determination struck out. Although the application was unsuccessful, Warren J commented obita dicta that the amount of the CN was excessive. The level of a CN should simply compensate for the loss suffered following the act or omission which prevented recovery of an employer debt.

The Pensions Regulator has now issued a CN of £60,000, but has largely rejected the Upper Tribunal's comments on the calculation of CNs. According to the Pensions Regulator, the Upper Tribunal's comments only applied to the particular facts of this case and were not intended to restrict the Regulator's approach on other current or future cases.