Presbyterian Mutual Society Broke Law

The BBC and News Letter are reporting that the Presbyterian Mutual Society broke the law by running as a bank without the necessary authorisation
The FSA have been investigating the circumstances which led to the collapse.
In a statement it said: “We have concluded our investigation and have decided that the PMS was conducting regulated activities without the necessary authorisation or exemption.
“However, on the basis of the information currently available to us, and applying the criteria in the Code for Crown Prosecutors, we have decided that it would not be right for us to take a case against any of those involved in running the PMS.
“However, we remain in touch with the administrator and, if further information comes to light relating to the issues we have investigated, we will look into it.”

I have argued this before but now with a clear suggestion that this organisation, inextricably linked as it was with the PCI, has been found in breach of the law; surely it is time for the Presbyterian Church to financially compensate those individuals who have suffered from this illegality? The church would be in a much better moral position to ask the government to help if it was prepared to set an example by accepting at least some of the financial repercussions which have affected many Presbyterians; a large number of whom are elderly and can ill afford this hardship.

  • Turgon,

    I totally agree with you.

    In relation to the decision not to prosecute, the Trustees could well have been in breach of the civil law. The prospect of an expensive civil action might concentrate the minds of any who are in doubt about what the Church should do.

  • Frustrated Democrat

    SM

    What can they afford to do?

    I think they are not a central organisation with funds, each congregation is responsible for its own finances. They then make a contribution to the centre to cover day to day expenses.

    Maybe someone with more knowledge could tell us.

    There is also the question of why DETI to failed to regulate them properly, had they done so this would never have happened. The Government therefore also bears responsibility to the investors for their incompetence.

  • Turgon

    Seymour,
    Thank you for that. I am very aware of the injunction “Judge not lest ye be judged.” However, I think this has now reached the status that for the PCI not to provide reimbursement to the investors would very seriously undermine its claim to be a Christian church. This is a simple moral matter. The PMS was clearly being run in a fashion contrary to the law. It was also had trustees who were leading Presbyterians. The fact that none of them are being prosecuted is of no importance: the law was broken. In addition the PCI repeatedly extolled the virtues of the PMS. For the PCI to pretend no real responsibility is utterly disingenuous.

    FD,
    The PCI has fairly significant central funds. More importantly it has property worth a great deal of money both in Belfast and elsewhere. The church could and, I would argue should, mortgage and maybe even sell property to obtain the money. The PCI needs to decide whether it is more interested in its people or its steeples.

  • Rory Carr

    There you go. What’s the point of being saved if once you have saved your savings then vanish?

    I suspect the whole enterprise was predestined to end in tragedy but that the spirirual benefit to be reaped from enduring their new found poverty, not to mention the opportunity for forgiveness towards the bank’s trustees that is presented, will be a blessing for all investors.

  • 0b101010

    Let their god save them, not the taxpayer.

    And Jesus entered into the temple of God, and cast out all them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the money-changers, and the seats of them that sold the doves; and he saith unto them, It is written, My house shall be called a house of prayer: but ye make it a den of robbers.

    Whoops, perhaps no sympathy from the supernatural realm then.

    we have decided that it would not be right for us to take a case against any of those involved in running the PMS.

    No surprise that some fraud is more acceptable to the state than others.

  • Ben

    Serious Turgon I think you are getting ahead of yourself- “However, I think this has now reached the status that for the PCI not to provide reimbursement to the investors would very seriously undermine its claim to be a Christian church”

    Whether they’ve done wrong or not, presumably they are a Christian Church because they preach the gospel. Its the point that Jesus comes to us rather than the sinner going to Jesus?