BP Pensioner Group calls on law firm Freshfields to investigate potential breaches of BP code of conduct and values.

The BP Pensioner Group (BPPG) representing more than 2,300 current and former staff of BP has called on law firm Freshfields, to investigate potential breaches of BP’s code of conduct and values in regard to the BP Pension Fund – by former CEO Bernard Looney.

BP’s board has appointed Freshfields to conduct an investigation into Mr Looney’s conduct as CEO.

Mike Slingsby, a former BP senior manager said on behalf of the BPPG:

“We have previously written to Bernard Looney and the Pension Fund Trustees to warn them that decisions they have made mean that the pension received by 60,000 members of the BP Pension Fund has declined in value in 2021 and 2022 by 11% in real terms. With continuing inflation in 2023, this fall in value currently stands at 17%.

“Those decisions we believe are potentially in breach of written BP pension policies and assurances made by the company over several decades – and thus represent a serious breach of the terms and intent of the company’s code of conduct and values.

“Earlier this year, BP executives including Mr Looney blocked the recommendation of the independent Pension Fund Trustees to increase pensions by an additional 4% despite the ring-fenced Pension Fund having a £5 billion surplus. This large surplus could and should be used for the purpose it was intended – to ensure the value of the pension is not eroded permanently by inflation where the Fund has sufficient resources. BP has also made record windfall profits but regardless, simply agreeing to the Trustees recommended increase would not have cost BP a penny in contribution to the Fund.

“ Mr Looney and fellow executives have ridden roughshod over the very real commitments made to staff who served the company loyally for most of their careers. Thousands made life-changing decisions based on the pension policy and assurances made in regard to cost-of-living increases to pensions. Mr Looney repeatedly refused to meet and discuss the issue with pensioner representatives. It is because of this that we have been forced to call on Freshfields to investigate.”

BPPG has also warned the Company and the Trustees that it intends to appoint counsel and solicitors to pursue a legal pathway to resolving this matter.


Notes to Editors

  • The BP Pension Fund has c. 60,000 members of whom 16,000 are over the age of 80. The average annual pension paid is c. £18,000 pa.
  • For some 30 years, BP and the Trustees have given written and verbal assurances that their policy is to “increase pensions in line with cost-of-living increases wherever possible and provided the Fund has sufficient resources.”
  • Thousands of BP employees invested their own money into the Fund with that assurance.
  • The Fund currently has a very strong surplus of £5 billion.
  • The Pension Fund recently admitted that it was in talks with insurance companies inviting them to ‘buy-in’ to the Fund. Buy-In arrangements are invariably the first step leading to a complete sell off of pension funds to insurance companies.

    Issued on behalf of the BP Pensioner Group
    Website: https://bppensionergroup.org/
    Further Information email: contact@bppensionergroup.org