Teachers Pensions  

Community Learning and Skills Service
Pension Problems, 2004 - 2011

And remember, where you have a concentration of power in a few hands,
all too frequently men with the mentality of gangsters get control - Lord Acton

Esom In terms of the financial statements of "what happened to the CLaSS teachers' pensions in 2004", we have taken legal advice and the Council cannot disclose this information to you. - Martin Esom, Chief Executive, 2011

Robert Maxwell, his connections - the sequel
wfcwGhislaine Maxwell still a socialite despite links to sex scandal
10 January 2015
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Why ARE the rich and powerful so in thrall to Ghislaine Maxwell? Despite court papers linking her to a tawdry 'sex-slave' scandal involving Prince Andrew and billionaire paedophile Jeffrey Epstein she still has amazing social connections

wfcwGhislaine Maxwell talks about the TerraMar Project, why the ocean is the most valuable resource on the planet and how to protect it. view
wfcwGhislaine Maxwell
6 January 2015
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She was her father's favourite, his youngest and most cherished child. Robert Maxwell could hardly have made that clearer when he named his yacht the Lady Ghislaine after the last of his nine children. She left Britain devastated by father Robert Maxwell's death and rebuilt her life in New York.
In documents lodged with the US courts it is alleged that she procured girls, including Virginia Roberts, who were used as sexual playthings by the tycoon Jeffrey Epstein and his powerful friends.
nutshellGhislaine Maxwell still a socialite despite links to sex scandal
wfcwGhislaine Maxwell stands accused of 'procuring' girls for Jeffrey Epstein
She is accused of acting as as a ‘madame’ for the wealthy paedophile and helping to recruit underage girls to work as ‘sex slaves’ at his properties
American Virginia Roberts said in court papers Maxwell recruited her to Epstein’s harem in the late 1990s
Roberts also claims she met Prince Andrew at Maxwell's home
Maxwell has previously denied any involvement with Epstein's crimes

The New York socialite is the daughter of disgraced newspaper tycoon Robert Maxwell
Ghislaine Maxwell has been a central figure in a string of sensational lawsuits in which it has been alleged that she acted as a ‘madame’ for Jeffrey Epstein, helping to recruit under-age girls to work as ‘sex slaves’ at the wealthy peadophile’s luxury properties in New York, Florida and the Caribbean

At a recent technology conference outside New York, delegates were introduced to a smartly-dressed woman with short, dark hair and a cut-glass English accent who would be giving a keynote speech. According to the event’s host, this person was ‘easily one of the smartest and most fascinating people I have ever met’.‘This is proven,’ he declared, ‘by the fact that she holds a bachelor’s and master’s degree from Oxford University, is a private helicopter pilot, a trained EMT [paramedic]... and a deep worker submarine pilot, in addition to being fluent in four languages.’ The name of this remarkable-sounding individual? Ghislaine Maxwell.
And her ensuing speech was one of a series that the 53-year-old made last year to promote the launch of her new marine charity, Terramar. Citing statistics about pollution and over-fishing, Ms Maxwell urged her audience to become supporters of the non-profit organisation.
She explained how Terramar — which boasts her friends Sir Richard Branson and Lord Mandelson as supporters — runs a jazzy website which carries educational literature, petitions and fund-raising tools devoted to campaigning for marine conservation.

Maxwell’s speech hinged on a cute, if somewhat rambling, personal story: how she, the youngest daughter of press baron Robert Maxwell, had during childhood forged a lifelong obsession with the high seas. ‘I started diving when I was nine,’ she declared, adding that from a remarkably early age, she then ‘realised I was going to dedicate the rest of my life to taking an involvement with and bringing an education around the ocean’. So far, so righteous. Yet a cynic might have wondered if Maxwell’s uplifting yarn accurately reflected the ups and downs of her real life story. For charity work and marine conservation aren’t exactly what she is famed for.
Instead, this scion of one of Britain’s most fabulously corrupt business dynasties is rather better known for attending glamorous parties, and her friendships with some of the wealthiest and most powerful people in the world.

Based in Manhattan since the early 1990s, she describes herself as a ‘business consultant’ in Companies House documents, and as a ‘social media marketing’ expert on Linked In, the business networking website.
Ghislaine Maxwell’s main activity, however, is networking. A gregarious woman, she is widely regarded as one of New York’s and London’s best-connected socialites.
‘She has inherited her father’s slightly bombastic charisma, and is one of those people who successfully trades on the fact that she knows lots of other fancy people, including Clintons, Kennedys and various royals,’ says one acquaintance.

Lately, however, a shadow has been cast across this glamorous existence. It stretches back to June 2008. That was when Jeffrey Epstein, Ms Maxwell’s billionaire ex-boyfriend, benefactor, and almost-constant associate for most of her adult life, was sent to prison for child sex offences in Florida.

Ever since, Ms Maxwell has been a central figure in a string of sensational lawsuits in which it has been alleged that she acted as a ‘madame’ for the wealthy paedophile, helping to recruit under-age girls to work as ‘sex slaves’ at Epstein’s luxury properties in New York, Florida and the Caribbean.
In court papers, it has been claimed that Maxwell not only trafficked girls to provide ‘erotic massages’ to Epstein and a host of his famous and influential friends, but that she also took part in the abuse.
Prince Andrew and Ghislaine Maxwell at Heidi Klum's "Hookers and Pimps"-themed Halloween party in 2000 at the Hudson Hotel in New York

One lawsuit accuses her, in graphic detail, of joining the paedophile financier in ‘sexually assaulting, battering, exploiting and abusing’ a 15-year-old girl. Ms Maxwell, it must be stressed, has always vigorously denied each and every allegation against her.

But the scandal has failed to go away. A week ago, it returned to the front pages when an American woman called Virginia Roberts said in court papers that Ms Maxwell had recruited her to Epstein’s harem in the late 1990s before, in 2001, flying her across the Atlantic to meet Prince Andrew. Roberts, who was 17, then claims to have slept with Andrew three times.
Ms Maxwell has called her claims ‘obvious lies’, while the Prince has put out three statements to the same effect.
Intriguingly, the Prince — forced, amid public outrage, to discontinue his friendship with Epstein in 2011 — remains on friendly terms with Ghislaine.
Indeed, a photograph emerged this week of Ms Maxwell — wearing a blonde wig, midriff-baring top and gold trousers — with her arm draped around Prince Andrew’s shoulders at a Hookers & Pimps Halloween party in New York hosted by supermodel Heidi Klum in 2000.
What is more, in 2013, Andrew attended her birthday party at the Dorchester Hotel in London. The starry guest-list included Britain’s richest MP, Labour’s Shaun Woodward, and his Sainsbury’s heiress wife Camilla, Pink Floyd drummer Nick Mason and former It-girl Tamara Beckwith.
Jeffrey Epstein, Ms Maxwell’s billionaire ex-boyfriend, benefactor and almost-constant associate for most of her adult life, was sent to prison for child sex offences in Florida in 2008
Last year, Ghislaine maintained a near-constant presence among New York’s smart society, and was photographed socialising with actress Julianna Margulies, movie star Josh Lucas and Jimmy Choo entrepreneur Tamara Mellon.

All of which invites two questions.
First: how, exactly, does this middle-aged woman retain such stratospheric social cachet, untainted by not only her crooked family’s fall from grace but also one of the most tawdry sex scandals of modern times?
Second: how is she able to move in the circles of the international super-rich, inhabiting multi-million-pound homes in New York and London despite having no publicly discernible source of commensurate income?

Ms Maxwell’s curious story begins in 1980s London, where, after attending Marlborough College and then Oxford University, she started the Kit Kat Club, which purported to be an alternative to the old-school-tie network for high-powered women. She then worked for her father’s newspaper, The European, and was made a director of Oxford United football club, which he owned.

This happy existence imploded in 1991, when Robert Maxwell drowned after falling off a yacht named Lady Ghislaine, after his daughter. It soon emerged that his newspaper empire was built on the proceeds of epic criminality, which had seen him defraud its pension fund of almost half a billion pounds.
Vilified in the UK, where Robert Maxwell’s victims were angered by the plush lifestyle his family had enjoyed at their expense, Ghislaine relocated to New York, where she took up residence in a small apartment, and set about re-inventing herself as a socialite.

It was to prove an inspired move.

‘Ghislaine has always been a prodigious networker,’ says one acquaintance. ‘People in New York didn’t care about the pensions scandal. And, of course, they are all suckers for an English accent.’
Maxwell, then 30, quickly met Epstein, a billionaire financier almost a decade her senior. Reportedly attracted by his resemblance to her father, she was soon being photographed as his guest at social functions. ‘He saved her,’ one friend told Vanity Fair. ‘When her father died, she was a wreck; inconsolable. And then Jeffrey took her in. She’s never forgotten that — and never will.’

Initial romance soon mellowed into close friendship, however, amid rumours that Epstein wanted to see other women.
Ghislaine duly became a fixer-cum-confidante, helping run Epstein’s households, travel and social calendar — a role she would continue for over a decade.

‘She has unbelievable contacts, and her thing is introducing people,’ a friend once said. ‘From a point where he knew no one of importance, she took him into circles in which the Clintons and Kennedys moved.’
In return, Epstein gave Maxwell a jet-set lifestyle far beyond anything she could afford from the reported £80,000-a-year trust fund set up for her by her crooked father.
She travelled in Epstein’s private jets (with everyone from Bill Clinton to Naomi Campbell), and spent time at his outrageously luxurious homes in Florida and his private island in the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Yet there was a dark side to Jeffrey Epstein, laid bare in a string of lawsuits, witness statements and depositions filed in Florida courts by the tycoon’s alleged victims.
Many mention Ghislaine by name — although it must again be stressed that she denies wrongdoing. In 2010, for example, a woman called ‘BB’ claimed that during the years she was allegedly abused by Epstein, Maxwell lived at his mansion in Palm Beach, Florida.

Prince Andrew accused of abusing underage sex slave
Despite the recent accusations Prince Andrew (pictured) and Maxwell are still on friendly terms even though he discontinued his friendship with Epstein in 2011 ‘She maintained a wardrobe at Epstein’s estate, in which she kept sexual toys and outfits,’ the lawsuit claimed, adding that Maxwell, ‘upon her own volition, actively and passively participated in sexual acts with minor girls she recruited’.
Meanwhile, a police ‘incident report’ from 2006, filed as evidence in a different case, contains a detective’s account of an interview with Johanna Sjoberg, a girl alleged to have worked for Epstein and who also met Prince Andrew.
‘Sjoberg stated that she met Epstein three years ago when Ghislaine Maxwell approached her... to work around Epstein’s house. Maxwell told her they needed some girls to work at the house to answer phones and run errands,’ it says.
Sjoberg, a pretty, 23-year-old student, was allegedly later asked by Epstein to provide erotic massage.
In 2009, lawyers preparing a case against Epstein meanwhile took a deposition from Alfredo Rodriguez, Epstein’s former housekeeper. In it, he claimed that Ms Maxwell kept an office under the stairs in the Palm Beach property, saying her computer contained a list of girls who came to give massages there, along with their phone numbers.
Rodriguez further claimed that Maxwell kept nude pictures of some of these girls on the device. He believed these photos had been taken without the young women’s knowledge. ‘I don’t think they knew they were being photographed,’ he said.

Then there are the extraordinary, but disputed, claims by Roberts, who alleges that she spent four years as Epstein’s ‘slave’ after being introduced to him at the age of 15 by Maxwell — whom she’d met while working at a local beauty spa.
On her first visit to Epstein’s home, where she’d been offered work as a masseur, she was led into a bedroom, where Epstein was lying naked on a table. After she had rubbed his back for 40 minutes, the tycoon rolled over, exposing himself, she claims.
A legal paper dating back to 2009 claims Ms Maxwell ‘then took off her own shirt and left on her underwear’ and started rubbing the upper part of her body across Epstein’s body, showing Roberts what she was supposed to do. ‘Maxwell then told [Roberts] to take off her own clothes... The encounter escalated.’

Roberts claims to have subsequently joined a harem paid $200 a time to provide erotic massages to Epstein and his friends — including, she alleges, Prince Andrew — in exclusive locations around the world.
‘Jeffrey loved the latex outfits Ghislaine had for us girls,’ reads a 2011 court filing. ‘He had bondage outfits, he had all different kinds of outfits, but his favourite was the schoolgirl. Ghislaine would take me to dress up to surprise Jeffrey … that would include wearing a tiny little skirt with nothing underneath.’
Virginia Roberts and Australian husband Robert Giuffre are seen taking their children to McDonald's lunch in Denver, Colorado. This is the first time the couple have been seen together since the story broke of Virginia's sexual past with Prince Andrew

Regarding Roberts’ claims, Ms Maxwell’s spokesman said this week: ‘Each time the story is retold it changes, with new salacious details about public figures … the claims are obvious lies and should be treated as such.’
It was also claimed in court papers unearthed this week that Ms Maxwell, to dodge questions about these allegations, lied to lawyers that she had to return to the UK — and had no plans to return to the U.S. — because her elderly mother was ‘deathly ill’. However, Ms Maxwell then popped up at Bill Clinton’s daughter’s wedding in America the following month.

Despite the scandal, Maxwell certainly owes plenty to her relationship with the convicted paedophile. Take, for example, her magnificent home in a six-storey house on New York’s East 65th street.
The property was purchased in 2010 by Darren Indyke, a local attorney with long-standing links to Epstein. It was promptly split into apartments, one of which is now Ms Maxwell’s residence. It is unclear from public records who actually owns it.

Consider also a correspondence address that Maxwell gives to Companies House. It’s a tiny office in a business centre next to a dive school in St Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands. Several Epstein firms are also registered to the same location.

Unpicking the rest of Maxwell’s financial interests is tricky. Her London home, where Prince Andrew was photographed with Virginia Roberts and Ms Maxwell, is a £3.7 million mews property in Belgravia. Land Registry documents list her as the owner ‘care of M.C. Grumbridge, of the Hogarth Group’, a company which runs health clubs in West London. Grumbridge, in turn, is Malcolm Grumbridge, a lawyer often described as a Maxwell family associate.

Then there is Ellmax, a company she set up in 2012. Its registered UK address is a cottage in Wiltshire occupied by Catherine Vaughan Edwards, another old friend. Its U.S. base is Maxwell’s New York flat, via one ‘Dana Burns’, which appears to be an alias that Ghislaine uses.
In the UK, she also has a directorship of Jemma Kidd Make Up Limited, a beauty firm run by the socialite and sister of supermodel Jodie, which went into administration in 2012 with debts of £2 million.
Fellow directors are Jack Kidd, Jemma’s polo-player brother, Arthur Mornington, the Duke of Wellington’s son and Jemma’s husband, Grace Fodor, a stylist and star of the BBC show Be Your Own Boss, and Mark Crocker, the stepson of the late racehorse breeder Lord Oaksey, who is married to Samantha Cameron’s personal assistant Isabel Spearman.

Finally comes the charity Terramar, which boasts two other directors: Vaughan Edwards and Lucy Clive, an ‘art director’ who is also the girlfriend of Ghislaine’s brother, Kevin Maxwell. Founded in August 2103, it hasn’t yet filed accounts with either Companies House or the Charities Commission.
On the personal front, Maxwell has had just one reported boyfriend in recent years: computer billionaire Ted Waitt, with whom she stepped out briefly in 2011. Instead, in public at least, she claims to now be devoted to philanthropy — a calling that she doubtless hopes will help rehabilitate her battered personal image.
Back at the tech conference, Maxwell ended her recent speech by saying that she has finally found her mission in life with Terramar, adding: ‘I have discovered that it doesn’t matter what age you are, so long as you follow your passion.’ The audience nodded approvingly — seemingly oblivious to one fact: that, for a woman accused of cynically aiding a powerful man to prey on vulnerable girls less than half his age, it was, at best, a deeply unfortunate turn of phrase.

wfcwThe Maxwell pension scandal could be repeated despite the raft of legislation introduced to protect members over the last 20 years, experts have warned.
04 November 2011
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Robert Maxwell died after falling overboard from his yacht in 1991, with the discovery that £450m of investments were missing from the pension funds of his companies.
wfcwMaxwell pension scandal ‘could happen again’ despite regulations
The Pensions Archive Trust Chairman Alan Herbert agreed legislation on its own could not stop a repeat of Maxwell, believing the system relies on voluntary governance routines and controls.
He said: “This is a very opportune moment to remind people what did happen and to remind trustees and managers of the things that can go wrong if you’re not exercising good governance and controls.
nutshellIn a nutshell - Maxwell pension scandal ‘could happen again’ despite regulations
MaxwellThe Maxwell pension scandal could be repeated despite the raft of legislation introduced to protect members over the last 20 years, experts have warned
04 November 2011
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Saturday 5 November marks 20 years since Robert Maxwell died after falling overboard from his yacht in 1991, with the discovery that £450m of investments were missing from the pension funds of his companies.

The hole left more than 30,000 members in danger of losing their benefits – they had to wait until 1995 for their pensions to be secured – and triggered the Pensions Act 1995 as well as a multitude of other legislation. But pension experts believe, despite all these rules being put in place, such problems could occur again.
Barnett Waddingham consultant Malcolm McLean said: “I do not think any of the measures introduced would have stopped a determined crook like Maxwell from taking the money. "He would have needed to have brow-beaten trustees and done things behind their back, but there is no way you can stop that for sure.”

The Pensions Archive Trust chairman Alan Herbert agreed legislation on its own could not stop a repeat of Maxwell, believing the system relies on voluntary governance routines and controls. He said: “This is a very opportune moment to remind people what did happen and to remind trustees and managers of the things that can go wrong if you’re not exercising good governance and controls. “The legislation has not addressed this. The introduction of member nominated trustees has played a part but it still comes back to people being very diligent.”

Eversheds head of pensions disputes and litigation Giles Orton also questioned the value of the additional regulation. He said: “You wonder whether we would have been better off with the unregulated system and accept the fact that a Maxwell might come along every 20 years and steal £150m. "The biggest losers are the people now going into pensions and finding they’re offered the much riskier defined contribution.”

UCUUniversity pensions black hole 'even worse than thought'
25 October 2013
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In its status report this month the Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS) put its fund deficit at £7.9bn. But the analysis methods that private companies use put it at £10.5bn.
wfcwUniversity finances face £17.5bn pensions squeeze
28 July 2017
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Universities face a new blow to their finances after the main pension fund deficit soared to £17.5bn.
The Universities Superannuation Scheme now has the largest pensions deficit of any UK pension fund after it increased by £9bn last year.
nutshellUniversity pensions black hole 'even worse than thought'

wfcwUniversity pensions black hole 'even worse than thought'
25 October 2013
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A massive shortfall in a pensions scheme used by UK university staff is even worse than thought, analysis for the BBC's Newsnight has suggested.
In its status report this month the Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS) put its fund deficit at £7.9bn.
But the analysis methods that private companies use put it at £10.5bn.
There areconcerns that such a significant hole in what is the biggest pension fund in the country could lead to a rise in tuition fees for students.
The Universities Superannuation Scheme, with 303,000 members, has assets of £37.9bn - more than three times what taxpayers spend every year on higher education.
By its own official estimate to members this month, that is £7.9bn short of what it needs to pay pensions.
Those numbers are disputed by the fund's critics who say that working it out on the formula private companies use - known as FRS17 - would put it at £2.6bn higher.
'Degree of denial'
Analysis for Newsnight by pensions consultant John Ralfe, former finance director of Boots, showed that to make good that deficit over 20 years would require a nearly doubling of contributions to £1.8bn. That equates to a rise in tuition fees of up to £1,000 a year.
Mr Ralfe said: "There is a whole degree of denial. USS is in denial about its real financial situation. Universities are in denial.
"We have seen private member schemes closing to new members and existing members wholesale over the last few years.
"There will be repercussions for the university sector. All we're doing is bequeathing a very real problem to our children."
Higher Education Minister David Willetts told Newsnight it would be wrong to pass on the cost of higher pensions to students.
"Universities are independent autonomous bodies and they know one of their financial responsibilities is to stand behind their pensions and tackle their deficits," he said.
"It would be wrong to expect students to bail out pension deficits to support pension schemes that are far more generous than students are likely to enjoy when they're older."
Higher contributions
Prof Craig Calhoun, director of the London School of Economics, said the size of the scheme's black hole concerned him.
"It's very worrying now and it looks even more worrying for the future," he said.
"It would be an added cost that we would have to cover either from tuition fees or some other source, either philanthropy or earnings from consulting or other enterprises."
Bill Galvin, chief executive of USS, told the Newsnight programme that higher contributions or cuts to benefits had to be considered.
He said: "It's been done in 2008. It's been done in 2011. We're looking at it again now."
The likelihood of higher tuition fees runs alongside the prospect of university staff having to pay more for their pensions.
Under a landmark agreement with universities, university staff have to share any large increases in costs with their employers.
They are already in militant mood, with strikes planned next week over pay.

BBCPensions reform begins as auto-enrolment starts
1 October 2012
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A radical reform of UK workplace pensions is under way but the overall effect on savings remains unclear, economists have said.
Automatic enrolment into a workplace pension, which starts for some on Monday, will affect millions of people. However, the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) says that the impact on total saving is "ambiguous".
Under the new scheme, a slice of a worker's pay packet will automatically be diverted to a pension pot, assuming they are aged over 22 and not already part of a workplace pension scheme.
Investigation report into EduActionOn 3 December 2009, an Independent External Panel censured council for serious widespread financial mismanagement.
read draft report ...
The contents of the EduAction audit report were ‘strictly confidential’ and protected the anonymity of councillors, officers and others by deleting (redacting) those parts of the report which identified individuals.
Sir Peter Rogers From the Independent Panel Report, Appendix B
read redacted report
4.1 In her report, Rita Sammons has identified a series of issues that need to be addressed. Indeed, one of her points is that there is a failure of leadership to take ownership of issues and to respond collectively and proactively to the issues raised. She goes on to say:
“There is a need to develop an organisational culture where there is greater accountability by senior and other managers for the performance of the Council overall.”

4.2 There is an emphasis on performance and issues within each directorate which will in time damage the performance of Waltham Forest if it is not dealt with now.
There is a new Leader of the Council and a new permanent Chief Executive Officer (CEO). This creates a unique opportunity to restate the appropriate roles of the Leader, Cabinet, Scrutiny, the CEO, the other statutory officers, the corporate management team and individual officers in terms of standards, expectations and responsibilities, both corporately and departmentally.
Setting expectations from the top of an organisation creates a momentum that will otherwise be missed and without these clear standards and expectations it will be more difficult to instil the cultural and behavioural changes across the organisation that are required.

4.3 The absence of an effective strategic Human Resources (HR) department is a serious barrier. It has clearly been ineffective for many years in Waltham Forest and there is no strategic direction for the organisational or personal development that is required going forward. The HR function is also ineffective operationally and there is evidence that there is no penalty for not complying with corporate rules. This is not just an issue for HR alone but for the senior management of the Council. Again, this is a serious issue which cannot be left and the redefinition of roles and expectations by the Leader and CEO will legitimise the expectations, but without the capacity to respond progress is doomed to failure. There is an urgent requirement to improve the Human Resources function and its contribution to driving improvements in behaviour