Business

What next for Sir Philip Green and BHS?

BHS store Image copyright Getty Images

MPs were scathing in their report on the collapse of BHS - and the way in which it was run by Sir Philip Green.

There are calls for him to dig deep into his pockets to make up for the £571m shortfall in the pension fund and for his knighthood to be revoked.

As things stand, more than 20,000 current and future pensioners will receive less money than they had expected.

So what happens next?

Image copyright Philip Green

What sanctions could Sir Philip face?

The Cabinet Office has said that Sir Philip's knighthood is being kept under review.

Lord Kerslake was chairman of the committee when banker Fred Goodwin was stripped of his knighthood. He told the BBC that "there's a case to be answered" by Sir Philip.

He said the knighthood may be stripped if it brings the honours system into disrepute.

Sir Philip could also ultimately lose his ability to run the Arcadia group which runs Top Shop. The Insolvency Service has an investigation under way into BHS and Sir Philip's role there as a director, which could disqualify him from being a director of any company in the UK for two to 15 years.

This is not an uncommon sanction. Around 1,200 directors are disqualified per year and high profile cases include Craig Whyte, former director of Rangers Football Club, who was disqualified for 15 years.

Image copyright PA

What about BHS staff?

Over the years 20,462 people - past and present staff - have paid into BHS pension schemes, according to the latest data.

UK employees are protected by the Pension Protection Fund (PPF). This fund - financed by the pension industry - pays out 90% of the scheme member's pot up to £33,000 per year.

Any income above this level is not protected, but there are very few employees who fall into that category.

Pensioners who are already in retirement will continue to receive their full pension, but this level of income will be frozen at current levels, meaning that they will increasingly be worth less as inflation eats away at their value.

Sir Philip is under pressure to pay money into the pension scheme to enable pensioners to get more than the level that the PPF guarantees.

"What I'd like to see is a proposal as to how much pensioners are going to receive," said Chris Martin, chairman of the trustees of the BHS pension fund.

Image copyright Reuters

What about BHS stores?

Nothing changes in the light of the MPs report. All remaining 114 stores are due to close in the next four weeks.

Image copyright Getty Images

What about the impact on business reputation?

Prime Minister Theresa May called the MPs report "concerning".

"The prime minister has already set out that we need to tackle corporate irresponsibility, reform capitalism so that it works for everyone, not just the privileged few," said her spokesperson.

The fallout from BHS's collapse has also led to worries about the broader reputation of UK business from the corporate sector itself, with the Institute of Directors saying that it had "cast a long shadow over British business".

"Now is the time to take a fresh look at how large private-owned companies are governed," Oliver Parry, head of corporate governance at the Institute of Directors, said.

The IoD has recommended that Theresa May launches a review into UK corporate governance.

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