AN investment house based in Blackburn, which looked after pension pots worth £130million, owed nearly £1million when it went under.

Eleven staff at Guardian Pensions Consultants (GPC), a self-invested personal pension scheme (SIPPS) firm, had outstanding claims of nearly £120,000, according to an administrators report.

But a rescue deal has been announced for the former Capricorn Business Park based outfit, which has seen workers transferred to Hartleys Pensions.

Administrators say the taxman is still owed more than £830,000, through a combination of VAT, pay-as-you-earn and corporation tax liabilities.

The outstanding deficit, at this point in the administration, with enquiries still said to be ongoing into potential asset realisations, is £964,000.

GPC, which looked after 3,200 SIPPs and around 50 self-administered schemes was placed into administration amid serious problems with its investment portfolio, including cash placed in failed Caribbean property vehicles.

The Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) has previously confirmed it had paid out £95million to investors who had been urged to locate their pension pots with GPC by independent financial advisors.

More than 140 investors had brought a class action against the company, which only had one registered director, Charnock Richard based Kathryn Taylor, when it entered administration, with fellow directors with Clitheroe, Samlesbury and Chorley links having previously resigned.

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In a statement, Adam Stephenson and Henry Shinners, of administrators Smith and Williamson, said: "We have completed a sale of the business, on August 12, 2019 to Hartley Pensions Limited.

"I am pleased to tell you that agreement has now been reached with Hartley Pensions Limited (Hartley) for the acquisition of GPC's business and certain assets with immediate effect. Hartley is an established pension provider, and is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority."

Mr Stephenson and Mr Shinners say all GPC staff are transferring to Hartley and the move should not affect any FSCS claim which investors may have begun concerning the failed Blackburn company.

Guardian Pension Trustees Ltd, which GPC administered and held pension plans totalling £130million on behalf of, was not placed into administration.

An investigation into GPC by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme into a number of outstanding cases is still ongoing.