Stannard v Fisons Pension Trust Limited: CA 1991

Fisons had sold their fertiliser division to Norsk Hydro. Acting on advice of actuaries and thinking that the fund was in deficit, the trustees made a transfer to a new fund to provide for pensions of transferring employees in accordance with a method of calculation which placed upon the new employer the burden of carrying on employer contributions at the current rate. But at the time of the transfer the trustees were not informed that rises in the stock market meant that the fund was in surplus. If they had known, another method of calculation would have been used which would have resulted in a reduction of employer’s contributions or the possibility of augmented benefits.
Held: There should be a recalculation, because the trustees had failed to take into account a highly material factor. Trustees have a fiduciary duty to follow a correct procedure in the decision-making process. This duty lies at the heart of the Rule in Hastings-Bass, which is directed at ensuring for the protection of the beneficiaries under the trust that they are not prejudiced by any breach of such duty.
Dillon LJ: ‘I should add that I have no difficulty in reconciling the judgment in Kerr v. British Leyland (Staff)Trustees Ltd. with the decision of this court in Re Hastings-Bass [1975] Ch 25 to which we were also referred. What was material in Hastings-Bass was that in order to save estate duty the trustees wanted by way of advancement to create an immediate life interest in the funds in question. This they had effectively done. Had they appreciated that the trusts in remainder after the life interest which they also purported to appoint would be void for perpetuity, they would no doubt have appointed other, valid, trusts in remainder. But they would still have created the same life interest, and any difference in the trusts in remainder was immaterial to that.’

Staughton LJ, Dillon LJ, Ralph Gibson LJ
[1991] Pensions Law Reports 225, [1992] IRLR 27
England and Wales
CitedRe Hastings-Bass; Hastings v Inland Revenue CA 14-Mar-1974
Trustees of a settlement had exercised their power of advancement under the section, in order to save estate duty by transferring investments to be held on the trusts of a later settlement. However the actual effect of the advancement was that the . .
AppliedKerr v British Leyland (Staff Trustees) Ltd 26-Mar-1986
In confirming that trustees did not have an uncontrolled discretion to determine whether the incapacity of a beneficiary of the trust was permanent, the Court held ‘Now this is not a case of trust where the beneficiaries are simply volunteers. The . .
Appeal fromStannard v Fisons Ltd; Stannard v Fisons Pensions Trust CA 2-Jan-1990
The purchaser of a business said that the company had made insufficient contributions to its pensions fund before the transfer, and sought payment of the sums underpaid. The defendants argued that, applying Hastings-Bass, unless that principle were . .

Cited by:
CitedAMP (UK) Plc and Another v Barker and Others ChD 8-Dec-2000
The claimants were interested under a pension scheme. Alterations had been made, which the said had been in error, and they sought rectification to remove a link between early leaver benefits and incapacity benefits. The defendant trustees agreed . .
CitedSieff v Fox ChD 23-Jun-2005
The advisers to trustees wrongly advised the trustees about the tax consequences of exercising a power of appointment in a certain way. As a result a large unforeseen Capital Gains Tax liability arose. The trustees sought to set aside the . .
CitedAbacus Trust Company (Isle of Man) Colyb Limited v Barr, Barr, and Barr ChD 6-Feb-2003
The court considered the Rule in Hastings-Bass, and specifically (1) whether the trustee’s decision is open to challenge when the failure to take a consideration into account is not attributable to a breach of fiduciary duty on the part of the . .
CitedBurrell and Sharman v Burrell, Shore, Tyrrell, etc ChD 23-Feb-2005
Shares were appointed by trustees in the mistaken belief that they attracted business property relief from Inheritance tax. They sought to set aside the appointment.
Held: Mann J applied the rule in Stannard v Fisons Pensions Trust and . .
CitedGallaher Limited v Gallaher Pensions Limited, C Foster, D Silver ChD 21-Jan-2005
Construction of amendments to pension scheme. . .
CitedAllan v Rea Brothers Trustees Limited CA 8-Feb-2002
The claimant appealed dismissal of his claim for damages for breach of trust. The respondent had administered his pension, a ‘small self-administered scheme’. The regulations required a pensioner trustee who took on specific duties. He had been . .
CitedFutter and Another v Futter and Others ChD 11-Mar-2010
Various family settlements had been created. The trustees wished to use the rule in Hastings-Bass to re-open decisions they had made after receiving incorrect advice.
Held: The deeds were set aside as void. The Rule in Hastings-Bass derives . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Trusts, Equity

Updated: 10 December 2021; Ref: scu.181651