EMAG

The independent action group for current and ex Equitable Life policyholders, funded by contributions.

Equitable Members Action Group

Equitable Members Action Group Limited, a company limited by guarantee, number 5471535 registered in the UK

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Documents: 29/07/2008 - Template Letters to MPs

29 July 2008 - Template Letters

Some example letters to MPs (for inspiration) with regard to Parliamentary Ombudsman's report “Equitable Life, a decade of regulatory failure”


Dear (Conservative) MP,

Thank you for your responding to my letter regarding compensation for those who lost out as a result of the regulatory maladministration of Equitable Life. I very much welcome your support for the right of policyholders to receive compensation for their losses.

You make one point, however, with which I would like to take issue: Your letter implies that the Parliamentary Ombudsman accepts that the "significant impact on public finances" of any compensation scheme should lessen the amount of compensation awarded. That is not what the Parliamentary Ombudsman says. Whilst she accepts that "it is appropriate to consider the potential impact on the public purse of any payment of compensation in this case", to use this as a pretext for limiting compensation, as your letter suggests, deliberately misrepresents her position. She made no other comment on the cost of the public purse and instead left it up to you all in Parliament to deliberate on the measure of compensation.

I would like to hear from YOU on what basis you feel compensation should be awarded, bearing this point in mind. Whilst there will obviously be an impact on the public purse of any award of compensation, the fundamental issue is one of fairness. To seek to limit compensation due to extraneous factors unrelated to the case would fundamentally water down the recommendation of the Ombudsman that Equitable policyholders should receive just treatment for their losses. What must be addressed, per the PO, are those losses attributable to failed regulation - nothing to do with the vagaries of investment risk or competitors performance.

The 125,000 sufferers in failed occupational pension schemes, the subject of a parallel and earlier PO report, have been promised £3bn compensation. Why should ten times as many victims at Equitable Life be treated less fairly because the UK is strapped for cash right now?

Notwithstanding, I am grateful for your support in this matter and look to your commitment to support Parliament's own Ombudsman's rigorous report and her clear recommendation of compensation.

With kind regards,


Equitable Life scandal and the Ombudsman’s Report

I live in your constituency and I want YOU to confirm to me that you will support the Parliamentary Ombudsman’s call for compensation for victims (like me) of the Equitable Life scandal. I have lost more money than I care to think about from my pension/retirement savings as a result of the deception that was, we now know for certain, allowed to take place under the noses of the regulators since 1990.

Many people have been very badly affected by this scandal, including hundreds of your constituents. When we invested money in Equitable Life we were led to believe that we were saving for our retirement in a blue-chip provider of the highest integrity and reputation. We took comfort from the words: - “Regulated” by the DTI/Treasury/FSA. That regulation, which we trusted and were entitled to rely upon, failed us.

It was a cruel deception, for not only were the regulators colluding in a cover-up of the Society’s appalling financial position, particularly from 1998 to at least the end of 2001, but they had passivlely allowed us to invest in a company with an untenable capital situation. For much of the 1990s, we now learn, Equitable Life was technically insolvent.

I urge you, please, to speak up for honouring the Parliamentary Ombudsman and constituents like me who have suffered hardship as a result of this scandal and to press the Government to get on and do the decent thing before more pensioners die waiting for justice, as so many have done in the last seven years.


I refer to the recent ruling by the PO and request your support on this matter and urge you to lobby on behalf of us all.

I am one of the many that sent written submissions to the PO and indeed part of my submission has been included, thus I have the whole of the ruling sent to me, so I hope that any reply that you can give is reasoned and not a standard letter or as it is called a "cookie cutter" that has been put out by all your colleagues

In my previous letters to you I have said that, to me and all policyholders this is not an academic/political exercise, but a matter of financial security for ourselves and when I die a proper pension for my wife because as things go on over the years she will only get 50% of very little.

You will no doubt recall that Gordon Brown supported Barlow Clowes when in opposition but Ruth Kelly, when Secretary to the Treasury declared the " Labour Party did not care if a few middle class people lost their pensions" she of Westminster and Oxford, me of Night School at the local Polytechnic. Also James Purnell the DWP minister in his reply to you and me said (2 Jan 2007) "It is rare for an Ombudsman's findings not to be accepted by a Government".

I am now 76 so time is of the essence, as many of my friends in the same position have died during this debacle and another will not make Christmas.

I will send you copies by "snail mail" and hope that you can add your authority to our cause.

Sincerely


I write to you as my elected Member of Parliament and wish to seek your assistance in lobbying the government to resolve the issue caused by the Equitable Life and maladministration by the government and their financial regulators and call for compensation.

For your information I have been in continuous employment since 1963 as an apprentice then an electrician and not wishing to be any burden on the state, have always paid my taxes and contributed to pension schemes including Equitable Life so that I would not have to rely on state hand outs in my retirement.

All my working life I have been a union member/shop steward and staunch supporter of the Labour party throughout those “wilderness years” before you came to govern in the 90s, and was delighted when the Labour party won the election.

It was my intention to retire at 60 but due to the mess left behind by the Equitable Life and the government regulators who have been quite clearly shown at fault by the recent Ombudsman's Report I now find that not only will I be unable to retire until 65 but will probably need to carry on working for as long as possible afterwards.

I would add that I do not fit the bill as one of the illusory “fat cat” rich professionals that it suits Gordon Brown to characterise Equitable Life investors as being. I am amongst those who heard the government encourage us to invest our savings in such schemes having been told we are protected by the Treasury and the FSA as regulators.

As far as my personal circumstances are concerned my fund was devalued by 25% in an effort to keep the company afloat.

As you may be aware the Equitable Life was regulated by various Government bodies with the FSA ultimately responsible for overseeing a company that cheated its customers by concealing the truth, causing extreme hardship in not being able to deliver expected and rightly due incomes and nationally it is a government issue to ensure citizens are not mislead and sold faulty products and with occurrences such as this its no wonder the public lose faith and trust in politicians when the bodies they set up to regulate are clearly negligent..

As the Government has 3 months to respond to the damning report from the Ombudsman I urge you to lobby where possible to get your government to accept responsibility and make fair restitution to the unfortunate people like myself to put them in the same position that they should have been if the regulators had been doing their jobs properly.

In conclusion, I am aware of and grateful for your efforts in fighting “our corner” for various local problems that affect us living in Nazeing. Including the illegal “gypsy” sites and the volume of HGV traffic using our local roads, but this Equitable Life debacle will affect the quality of life of my family and many others like us during our retirement years and ask you to put yourself behind our efforts in “righting this wrong”

Should you require any further details please do not hesitate to contact me and I would be grateful to receive a written response specific to this letter as soon as possible.

Yours sincerely


I am sorry to bother you again , but I need to ask for your help in the matter of the delaying tactics of this Government in making a decision about compensation for Equitable Life pension and retirement savings.

I started my pension saving with Equitable in 1994 on the basis that it was the very best company available and that it was fully regulated by all the government agencies - DTI/Treasury/FSA. It now transpires from the Parliamentary Ombudsman's report that THIS REGULATION WAS TOTALLY INEFFECTIVE from as early as 1990.

I had saved with companies such as Scottish Provident and Norwich Union and the fact that Equitable were fully regulated was certainly one of the factors I considered before commencing with them and subsequently transferring the other funds to them.

Like so many other people in Equitable I have found that I lost conservatively 25 to 35 % of my pension fund as a result of this. I also lost over 25% of a separate Equitable investment and in the space of just 2 years I consider they STOLE almost £20,000 of my cash deposits.

Sucessive governments had continuously encouraged the electorate to fund their own pension and not to rely on the State Pension. Those same governments had promised tight regulation to safeguard those recommendations. When that regulation proved to have been totally ineffective and irresponsible the government employed devious delaying tactics to try to make the problem go away. It continues to do so by failing to accept the recomendations of Anne Abrahams , the Parliamentary Ombudsman, and delaying again any decision 'until the autumn' .They are compounding the failure to regulate by failing to accept the findings from their own institutions.This contrasts strongly with the rescue of Northern Rock and the compensation of people who lost money in Occupational Pension schemes.

Personally I have never subscribed to the 'compensation culture' because if you make a decision, particularly one involving investment, then it is your decision and you live with the results. This situation is different - the government was part of the decision process by providing regulation. this regulation was inept and it is the government that must accept most of the responsibility, together of course with Equitable who frequently used the word 'guarantee' when it meant nothing of the sort.

I will not take up any more of your time, but would ask you to carefully consider these matters and use all your influence to put pressure on government for a speedy decision. Enough time has been wasted!

Thank you for taking the time to read this ,if you require any further information from me please just ask (I have Equitable correspondence over the years in a file now well over 6" thick ).

I look forward to hearing from you as soon as possible.


The conclusions of the Parliamentary Ombudsman's long awaited report into the regulation of Equitable Life in the ten years leading up to its closure to new business in 2000 could not be clearer. The government appointed regulators were guilty of serial maladministration and the government should apologise and compensate the affected policyholders for their losses.

Considering that they have had full sight of the final report for several months before its publication, it is outrageous that Gordon Brown and his morally challenged Labour Government are saying that they need further time to consider it, and will not make their response until autumn. There is nothing worse than a government that, found wanting by both the European Parliament and now their own parliament's referee, stoops to yet further delaying tactics. These tactics compare particularly unfavourably with the swift rescue operation mounted for customers of Northern Rock, a large proportion of whom are Labour core voters.

I was one of those one million or more Equitable policyholders who lived through the government's obfuscations and denials for the last eight years, and saw my personal pension savings, invested with Equitable, diminished by approximately twenty percent. I retired last October and had to use my devalued fund to purchase a pension significantly less than what I had planned. May I ask for your assurance, please, that you will give your full support to the aggrieved policyholders' just hopes and expectations for fair compensation, and push for the government to implement the recommendations of PO's report without further delay?


Thousands of ordinary people – including me - tried to do what they were told by the Government and save sensibly for retirement, only to lose large amounts of their hard-earned savings through the failure of the management of Equitable Life, in collusion with the regulators.

I am not a fan of “compensation culture” and recognise that there are big demands on the public purse, particularly at the present time. However if ordinary working people are to be encouraged to invest in pensions to fund their own futures, surely there should be some justice in this case? Otherwise, why would anyone bother?


When I raised the Equitable Life with you, you said you wanted to see what the Parliamentary Ombudsman would say.

Now, we all know what she says. Both Labour and Conservative Governments have let the public down terribly and caused injustice and loss to thousands.

Will you now at last reply frankly and tell me if you will support the payment of proper compensation to those afflicted by regulatory failure with financial loss?


I worked for ELAS for 13 years. It was ingrained in us that Equitable was an honest, reputable and highly respected Society. We had an unimpeachable past - going back to 1761 - and had originated the actuarial processes for life insurance. We were expected to be squeeky clean and all our dealings had to be above board.

Our products were first class, and our pensions were always in the top rankings. The fact that we paid no commission to third parties helped achieve our very low charges. We were the creators of the With Profit annuity.

I really really believed in the Society. Blind faith. Completely taken in. I sincerely believe that nobody in the branches was aware that there was something rotten at the core. Not even the Branch Managers knew. The sheer hypocrisy.

I convinced my husband to transfer-in his four other pensions into an ELAS WP annuity. At first he was reluctant to - eggs in the same basket - but my riposte was this - and I can still hear myself saying, with all the conviction in my heart, "if ELAS goes bust, then so will the Bank of England."

And the rest is history.


I read recently an article which suggested that the goverment (ie taxpayers) could not be expected to compensate investors/savers/policy holders for financial loss caused by management incompetence/negligence. The implication was that caveat emptor should apply.

On first reading this did not seeman unreasonable view.However on reflection I then considered my position as a with-profits policyholder with the Equitable. The Equitable has been regulated at various times by DTI, Treasury, GAD and the FSA. What was the function of these bodies? Was it to act only as an adviser offering guidelines and making recommendations which might or might not be acted upon?

If this was the case then caveat emptor did apply and I think we should have been made aware of this. (All life companies make it clear that they are regulated...why if regulation offers little or no protection except Northern Rock!)

But for example the FSA was called a regulator,and every definition I have found for regulator states control and direction not advice. You may be interested to learn that the DTI did act in a regulatory manner ( ie it directed) with certain small life assurance companies. It did instruct some companies to create reserve funds for some policies for the protection of policyholders. The DTI did not advise.........it instructed.

It is well known that The Equitable "over bonused" for many years ( as some other life companies did). This marketing ploy combined with an expensive guaranteed annuity rate was the main cause of their downfall.

Why didn't the regulators regulate in this instance? They were aware for some years of the potential danger. Only the DTI Treasury FSA et al know why they held back from issuing firm directives to The Equitable which might have saved them. Regulation not just advice is what was required and that is why I expect the government to compensate.

I trust that you will press the goverment for compensation in the same way that Gordon Brown said that compensation should have been paid in the case of Barlow Clowes!

If however you consider the regulators exist only to provide guidelines and advice please let me know.


The last time I wrote you regarding The Equitable, whilst I appreciated the courtesy of your reply your comment by email 26 Sept 2007 was to stall me waiting for the official Ombudsman report. Now that this is published, it is highly critical of maladministration by Government offices and not as you suggested to me entirely the result of the internal affairs of the company. It is clear from recent scathing press reports there was lack of Government supervision and control. I doubt this has gone unnoticed by you and members of the Government, but so far delaying comment before your holiday recess.

The current mood of the electorate countrywide must be causing concern to Labour members of Parliament. You have given good loyal service to the electorate of Northampton North and the loss of this position and whatever income and home comforts it produces for you would be of a concern to you and your family should it happen at the next election, although leaving the Commons in 2010 after serving just 13 years as an MP you will enjoy a "gold plated" and index-linked Parliamentary pension of £23,000 pa, plus £38,000 tax-free severance at our expense. Maybe now is the time for MPs to be sensitive to the importance us constituents are having through no fault of our own with this injustice with pensions. If you were to be faced with personal changes or hardship it would be little different to the unease us members of the Equitable Life are suffering with our Pension Fund with our long term planning going awry.

We were encouraged by Government to join company pension schemes placing money from our occupations, topping up with voluntary contributions, knowing that probably the State Pension would not be sufficient in our retirement to sustain us for whatever life style we planned, provide widow benefits or support our immediate family as we would wish.

In truth the Equitable position was kept from us. We were cheated being asked to buy into a less than solid company or to remain with them. Protection of consumers is the responsibility of Government departments to not allow deception. The findings that maladministration of Government offices led to the downfall of the Equitable and near demise is a National issue when Government is there to protect citizens.

This has dragged on now for years, it is a disgrace, and for many people to assume that all Equitable members were well heeled and could withstand the loss, nothing could be further from the truth. Certainly many Equitable members were professional people, believing in the long term planning for their retirement and families, that is those of us that are left, for the longer this is dragging on members are being denied their savings and pensions, 15 members are dying each day. Many members are now with illness themselves or looking after infirm loved ones. Each of us is faced with a hardship we did not plan for. All that could have been avoided if the Government had acted.

The continued neglect of our case is a national issue; its detrimental affect does not bode well on a Government prepared to continue to ignore the plight of us pensioners. We deserve immediate consideration for compensation for the ineptitude of Government maladministration as called for by the European Parliament and now by the recent Ombudsman report.

I would ask you urgently with the weight of the evidence now officially produced to bring your weight to bear in Parliament to accept the Ombudsman report and to give that office due credibility and indeed also your party, to serve the interests of the Nation and where they may stand with their individual pensions as well as the Pensions industry, by accepting the consequences and compensating us innocent victims which include me and my family members within your constituency.


You will no doubt be aware that the Ombudsman’s Office has finally published its report, entitled “Equitable Life: a decade.of regulatory failure”.

We corresponded last year about my concerns that if the Ombudsman finds maladministration, as she indeed has, that the Government will simply reject her findings and ignore her recommendations.

Can I remind you of the level of losses that I have suffered. I managed to withdraw my pension fund from Equitable in June 2002, incurring a reduction in value of £40,000 or so. As my retirement date is October next year, a resolution of this matter has now become a very pressing issue for my family and me.

I know that I can count on you to press for the Government now to put in place a compensation scheme for people like me. An apology, as also recommended by the Ombudsman would be welcome as well, but experience in this matter has taught me not to set my sights too high. In case you did not receive your own copy of the Ombudsman’s report, please find enclosed 2 CDs for your summer reading!


I write to you as my elected Member of Parliament and wish to seek your assistance in lobbying the government to resolve the issue caused by the Equitable Life and maladministration by the government and their financial regulators and call for compensation.

For your information I have been in continuous employment since 1970 and not wishing to be any burden on the state have always paid my taxes and contributed to a pension scheme with the Equitable Life so that I would not have to rely on state hand outs in my retirement.

It was my intention to retire at 55 but due to the mess left behind by the Equitable Life and the government regulators who have been quite clearly shown at fault by the recent Ombudsman's Report I now find that not only will I be unable to retire at 65 but will probably need to carry on working for as long as possible afterwards.

As you may be aware the Equitable Life was regulated by various Government bodies with the FSA ultimately responsible for overseeing a company that cheated its customers by concealing the truth, causing extreme hardship in not being able to deliver expected and rightly due incomes and nationally it is a government issue to ensure citizens are not mislead and sold faulty products and with occurances such as this its no wonder the public lose faith and trust in politicians when the bodies they set up to regulate are clearly negligent.

As far as my personal circumstances are concerned my fund was devalued by 15% in an effort to keep the company afloat.

Because of years of poor performance I was encouraged by a financial advisor to move to another better performing company but was forced to pay a 10% exit fee to do so. I calculate that this has cost me approximately £25,000 and excludes the many years of underperformance.

As the Government has 3 months to respond to the damning reort from the Ombudsman I urge you to lobby where possible to get this government to accept responsibility and make fair restitution to the unfortunate people like myself to put them in the same position that they should have been if the regulators had been doing their jobs probably.

Should you require any further details please do not hesitate to contact me and I would be grateful to receive a written response specific to this email as soon as possible.


I am one of more than one million Equitable Life victims who lost a substantial amount of my pension savings after Equitable closed its doors and subsequently, largely unrelated to stockmarkets, devalued all policy values including mine by 25% back in 2001 and 2002.

I would add that I do not fit the bill as one of the illusory “fat cat” rich professionals that it suits Gordon Brown to characterise Equitable Life investors as being. I am amongst those who heard the government encourage us to invest our savings in such schemes having been told we are protected by the Treasury and the FSA as regulators.

You will be aware that policy holders are now suffering further diminution of their pension and have not received any redress for the lack of Government control and regulation.

The much delayed report makes firm recommendation that the Government pays its due to us. It leapt to support Northern Rock and is now anxious to find another £3.85 Billion to help them out even though they have incurred even more substantial losses.

The Government have said they will reconsider their position in the autumn. I find it appalling and even immoral that when it suits them (such as when it is not helping their own supporters) they are duck away from responsibility like the cheap cowards they are.

I am sure you will be aware that they will take every twist and turn they can to avoid implementing Ann Abraham’s report. Please will you place all the pressure you can for me on Mr Darling and Mr Brown to make them pay up. I am 76 now and have existed on a paltry pension primarily due to previous actions of Mr Brown and the lack of responsibility they show.

I look forward to hearing from you.


I am delighted that you have asked the Government to recognise their role in the near collapse of Equitable Life and to establish a fund to compensate those who have suffered financial loss.

Arguments will be raised against compensation, many based on misinformation or misunderstanding. The government are not being asked to guarantee the investment returns of policyholders. The performance of Equitable Life’s investments was not defective. However the returns from the investments were very unfairly distributed.

The regulator stood idly by as vast sums were paid out by way of over-bonusing to those who were fortunate enough or in-the-know enough to get out of the With-Profits fund in time. When Equitable eventually closed to new business, there was a huge deficit in the fund, and the hole has been compounded by enormous administrative and legal costs since then. Those left in the fund have had to shoulder the losses. Some,particularly the With Profits Annuitants have been very badly treated, because they have been unable to leave. They have endured continuing cuts to their pensions.

Equitable Life policyholders are not fat cats. They are people trying in their own modest way to provide for their own future. It is interesting to compare the enthusiasm with which the Government supported Northern Rock with its quite exceptional slowness on Equitable Life. One wonders if the government has treated the Equitable Life policyholders in such a cavalier manner because they suspect that they may be, in general, not Labour voters.

I urge you to support application of the compensation mechanism suggested in the PO report.


Despite the disgraceful delaying tactics of the Treasury and others, the Parliamentary Ombudsman's report into the Equitable Life has finally been published. The title "Equtable Life: a decade of regulatory failure" says it all. It finds that there was maladministration by the regulators and recommends that the government should pay compensation.

I have seen in the papers information saying that a policy held with the Equitable Life for 20 years still paid out OK compared to the market. These policies are very likely to have had the GAR clause and would have benefitted greatly from the over-bonusing in the 1980s, so this comparison is highly misleading. The people who have lost out are the ones who invested after 1988; they did NOT have the GAR, did not benefit from over-bonusing and had their policy values slashed on a number of occasions.

I understand that £4 billion may be required to compensate members and ex-members of the Equitable Life.

  • This is peanuts compared to the £100 billion that the government has pumped into the Northern Rock.
  • This is peanuts compared to the billions more that have been pumped into other banks during the credit crunch.
  • This is peanuts compared to the billions that have been wasted on ridiculous wars.

The Parliamentary Ombudsman has recommended compensation; let's get it agreed and distributed quickly. The government has already had a copy of the draft report for several months, so there is no reason to delay further. I assume that compensation will be due to people who had Occupation Pensions administerd by the Equitable, as well as Personal Pensions, that interest will be added (at least 5% compound per year) and that compensation will be tax-free. I also assume that we will be allowed to put the full amount of compensation into our current pension arrangements on top of the current contribution limits for the relevent tax year, with no tax or other deductions.


The spin concerning the supposed wealth of ELAS investors needs to be demythed - many like us were self-employed and making their own pension arrangements, using accountants and professional advice - this wasn't a gamble at the bookies . Yes I expect compensation - isn't this why we have a regulator and a Government?

Not enough case histories are reaching the, not wanted to discuss their financial affairs in public - many, like us, became involved in a long term care situations (another ongoing battle) and our energies have been exhausted by the battles with bureaucracies who refuse responsibility and accountability

Mr Brown is very fond of banging on about creating a country of opportunity for all. Many Equitable annuitants did exactly that - moving from pre-war poverty and by hard work attempted to provide for their retirement. They might not be poor but they are not wealthy either so compensation DOES matter

My mother is over 80 - I'd like to give her hope that this government will do what is right and proper in her lifetime - the reality is that she will look forward to another winter of reduced pension, increased heating costs and wondering how these are to be afforded , council tax etc like so many annuitants

if the banks are going with their cap in hand yet again for the Government to bail them out after the sub prime fiasco (as yet unquantified), then a compensation scheme should certainly be possible. It seems that this Government will procrastinate in the hope that mortality will overtake responsibility.


Now the Parliamentary Ombudsman has ruled that maladministration by the DTI, by the GAD and latterly by the FSA allowed the problem to get worse, when for the whole period under review they had the knowledge and the powers to have brought things to a halt, thereby reducing or even eliminating the effect of the Society's bad practices.

In my case, had they acted at the appropriate time it would have radically changed the bad decisions I was persuaded to make in ignorance.

No one expects the State to underwrite legitimate risk. But if a safety-first pension product is advertised as being supervised by Government regulators and if those regulators have the knowledge and the powers to exercise that supervision, then the public is entitled to rely on it. Any other way leads to financial anarchy and a collapse in confidence in pension saving.

The regulators failed. As the Ombudsman says, we are entitled to an apology that recognises that failure and to compensation on a fair basis to be worked out.


I was invested in the WP fund from the end of 1992 up to November 2003, and because of the cute way Equitable slapped 20% MVA on top of their previously applied fund cuts ( resulting in a negative final bonus ), I received basically nil return on my ten years contributions.

The London Life fund performance quoted recently, where a 20 year £200 per month pension investment yielded £75,612 comes to an annual return of 4.4% p.a. and I can tell you that with the curse of compound interest I would need compensation amounting to an uplift of 29% of my actual transfer value to make my annual return 4.4% – that is just to cover the 10 years I was invested and not the period since at all.


The consequences of regulatory failure has been that many tens of thousands of late-joiners were allowed to invest in a moribund, effectively insolvent Society, whilst perhaps hundreds of thousands of others were able to be persuaded to place their retirement savings in totally unsuitable and (given ELAS' true financial position) dangerously flawed products such as its WP annuities and managed pensions. All these people have suffered financially not just because of the stupidity or worse of ELAS's management, but because, as the P.O. has shown, at least as far back as 1990 (and probably earlier) the regulators could have put a stop to the shennanigans simply by doing what they were supposed to do.

So this is not a question of expecting the regulators to act as guarantors. It is a question of them being asked to pay compensation to the victims of their failure to carry out their legal responsibilities.


I sent you an email concerning Equitable Life on 11th March 2004 to which you kindly replied, and another email on 23rd January 2006.

Some time ago there was the European Parliament recommendations based on the EQUI report of the Committee of Inquiry into the crisis of the Equitable Life that the UK Government should compensate Equitable Life policyholders and now we have the second report from the Parliamentary Ombudsman which also recommends compensation and has the most devastating criticism of government departments.

Please ensure that suitable action is speedily taken by the Government. So far the government has totally ignored the European Parliament's recommendations and is quite likely to do the same with the PO2 Report.

Here is an extract from an internet discussion forum which encapsulates my views:-

"It seems pretty obvious to me that they (the regulators) realised there was a problem, hoped the society could trade itself out of it but then tried to keep the lid on things hoping it would go away - when they should have been more pro-active and enforced regulations, safety measures, good governance and finally stopped them misleading existing and new customers with effectively false statements of the fund's state and performance. For this they were initially negligent or incompetent and finally collusive, incompetent and devious."

Do you believe that the Government of the United Kingdom and its civil servants should be fair and honest or devious and looking for any excuse to avoid it's responsibilities?