// The Pension Protection Fund seeks new administrator at Laura Ashley
// The authority wants FRP Advisory to run the administration alongside PwC
// Laura Ashley went into administration last month, but its brand and archives have been acquired by the Gordon Brothersd
The Pension Protection Fund reportedly wants Laura Ashley to have another administrator installed to oversee the investigation regarding the retailer’s collapse.
According to Sky News, the UK’s pensions lifeboat authority is pushing for restructuring firm FRP Advisory to be installed as a joint administrator alongside PwC.
The news comes after Laura Ashley’s global brand, archives and related intellectual property were rescued by restructuring and investment firm Gordon Brothers.
- Laura Ashley rescued from administration
- Laura Ashley hires third administrator as coronavirus pressures mount
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While the brand was bought out of administration, the future of Laura Ashley’s remaining stores and 1500 staff still hangs in the balance.
Sky News indicated that FRP Advisory’s appointment as a joint administrator could be confirmed later this month.
The Pension Protection Fund reportedly wanted “a second pair of eyes” to oversee investigations into the events leading up to Laura Ashley filing for administration.
The move has parallels the fund’s role behind scenes when FRP was the joint administrator and then liquidator of BHS in 2016, the collapsed department store chain that grabbed headlines with the revelation of a £571 million pension black hole.
The Pension Protection Fund is to take on responsibility for paying Laura Ashley’s pension scheme members’ retirement benefits.
Laura Ashley, founded in 1953, had appointed PwC as administrators after failing to secure an emergency funding lifeline amid coronavirus trading concerns.
It resulted in 268 staff across head office and back-office roles being made redundant while a further 1669 store employees were put on furlough due to the lockdown.
Laura Ashley has continued to trade online during the pandemic.
Laura Ashley’s collapse into administration marked the first UK major retailer to become insolvency during the coronavirus.
Both PPF and FRP did not provide any comment.