Members were told that they could expect a guaranteed 8% return into their pension if the invested in ‘storage products’.
It was entrusted with more than £4.8m ($6.4m, €5.4m) of members’ pension funds following an apparent cold-calling telesales blitz.
When the phones stopped ringing savers soon found the firm increasingly uncommunicative.
Poor paper trail
Insolvency Service investigators later found an ‘incomplete, inconsistent and contradictory’ records of what had happened to the money.
The High Court, which wound up Chartwell on 6 June, concluded that “the company operated with a lack of commercial probity, a lack of transparency, and without any presence at its registered office address”.
Nobody appeared on behalf of the company to oppose the petition.
“Those behind companies such as Chartwell should be aware that the Insolvency Service will not tolerate such abuses of the corporate regime,” Insolvency Service investigation supervisor Irshard Mohammed said.
“It is telling that this situation appears to have arisen from telephone cold-calling.
“Members of the public should be most wary when approached with investment proposals or proposals of how to manage their pension, through unsolicited telephone calls.”
The closure of Chartwell comes as the government confirms that plans to introduce a cold-calling ban have been further delayed.
Second winding up
The company’s sole director at the time of winding up was Christopher William Payne.
Payne and another former director of Chartwell, Karen Carol Burton, were previously directors of Imperial Trustee Services, which was also wound up by the Insolvency Service on a Public Interest petition in 2015.
Imperial also invested in storage pods which paid 46% commission but millions also went unaccounted for.