Business

Pensions Advisory Service boss stands down after bankruptcy

Image copyright Pensions Advisory Service

The chair of the Pensions Advisory Service has stood down from his position after being declared bankrupt.

BBC Newsnight has learnt that Museji Takolia will have to leave the post unless he can annul the bankruptcy.

He was made bankrupt in July and stood down in September. His absence has not been revealed until now.

He was appointed to his position earlier this year by the Department of Work and Pensions, who described him as "a champion of savers".

The Pensions Advisory Service offers independent advice about both private and company pension schemes.

It is grant-funded by the DWP with paid pension specialists, but it also relies on hundreds of volunteers around the country.

Mr Takolia, 55, has also resigned from his job as the chair of the Wye Valley Health Trust.

Interim

The industry publication, Health Service Journal, has reported that his resignation came on October 14 - 11 weeks after he was declared bankrupt.

The Pensions Advisory Service has appointed Ann Harris, an experienced former civil servant, to be its interim chair.

She was already a non-executive director of the organisation and has been appointed for a term of up to six months.

Mr Takolia is described as being "on special leave" but I understand that he will only return to his position if he is able to discharge the bankruptcy.

Swift

Should he fail to annul the bankruptcy, he will be told he has to resign from his role of TPAS chairman and a full-time replacement will be sought.

His appointment to the job as TPAS chair followed a recruitment process led by a search agency. He was offered the job on January 19, and started formally on February 1st.

A spokesman for the DWP claimed the department had responded swiftly, saying: "Once notified we took the first opportunity to appoint a new acting chair. The role of chair does not include the day to day running of the organisation."

Mr Takolia has held a number of high-profile public positions, including a place on the board of OFTSED, and was awarded a CBE in 2011 for services to diversity and equal opportunity.

Mr Takolia is the owner of a property development called Invest-Eq, which made a pre-tax loss of more than £40,000 last year. He is also a director of a company called Intellicomm, whose latest accounts are nearly a year overdue.

Mr Takolia has not responded to requests for an interview.

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