Norton’s former CEO, Stuart Garner has been ordered by the Pensions Ombudsman in the United Kingdom (UK), to repay millions of dollars for a failed retirement scheme that he offered to 30 applicants. These applicants are also the complainants that brought the case to light. The Pensions Ombudsman oversees retirement fund schemes in the UK has ruled in favor of the complainants who are seeking to recover their pension funds which Garner allegedly mishandled.
The complainants seek to recover money that they put into the Commando 2012, Donnington MC and Dominator 2012 pension schemes of which Stuart Garner was the sole trustee of the said pension schemes. Stuart Garner ran Norton Motorcycles as its CEO from 2008 until January of this year when the company fell into administration. He was also the sole director of Manocrest Limited, the provider of the pension schemes of which the Pensions Ombudsman immediately found him in direct conflict of interests. Norton was found to be an officer of both companies which was a cause for concern as the pension schemes were allegedly invested into shares in Norton Motorcycles. However, the complainants have yet to see returns from their investments since Norton Motorcycles has undergone administration change.
The exact amount that’s owed to its investors is yet to be determined. However, between April 2012 and December 2013, its members have transferred as much as 10,931,647.27 pounds into the three pension schemes amounting to an equivalent of P670 million. It is being estimated that a total of 11 million pounds to 14 million pounds (P674 million to P858 million) is owed by Garner to repay his investors. Thus, the Pensions Ombudsman ordered Garner to pay 6,000 pounds (P367,000) to each of the 30 complainants which totals 180,000 Pounds (P11 million) as damages for the distress and inconvenience caused to the Trustee’s exceptional maladministration.
The Trustee has breached his fiduciary duties: not to profit from his position as Trustee; and to avoid conflicts of interest. I also find that the Trustee failed to exercise due skill and care in the performance of its investment functions and breached his equitable duty of care to beneficiaries, and acted dishonestly, by investing in [Norton Motorcycle] Holdings preference shares.
Norton Motorcycles however has been given a second chance in life after the Indian motorcycle giant, TVS Motor Company successfully acquired the company giving the brand the opportunity to continue to sell its motorcycles for all to enjoy.