Three companies have been wound up by the High Court for misleading employers looking to set up new pension schemes.
NAEH, Wise Auto Enrolment and National Auto Enrolment Helpline were all wound up by the High Court on 17 September 2018.
NAEH and Wise were found to have acted as introducers wherein they referred employers looking to enrol staff into a pension to a pension administrator to set up new schemes.
In response to complaints received about the firms, Insolvency Service investigators, along with The Pensions Regulator, found that the two introducers ‘traded with a lack of commercial probity’. This included misleading and unfounded statements on their websites and to employers, and charging advance fees for services that they failed to provide.
NAEH and Wise were also operating with a lack of transparency, having incorrect company names on invoices and little clarity as to who was controlling the two firms, the Insolvency Service said.
While the third company, National Auto Enrolment Helpline had not conducted any activities of concern, investigators demonstrated a strong case to the court that the firm would be used to continue activities carried out by NAEH and Wise.
The petitions to wind up the companies were presented in the High Court Manchester on 19 July.
Insolvency Service chief investigator Scott Crighton said: ‘The Insolvency Service will investigate and bring to a halt the activities of companies that fail to meet the required standards of commercial probity and transparency and that are found to be operating against the public interest.
‘The Official Receiver is now responsible for the affairs of the companies and we want to assure the public that the court’s actions have put an immediate stop to their activities.’
A TPR spokesperson said: ‘We launched an investigation after becoming aware that the companies were failing to provide automatic enrolment pension services paid for by employers. In addition, they were selling bogus certificates to employers that suggested the bearers had an exemption from workplace pension duties.
‘No such documents are produced or accepted as evidence of workplace pension exemption. TPR assisted the Insolvency Service’s action against the companies.’