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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Information for International Policy Holders

Notice Board

Notice for all German policyholders
Christa Wellm is looking to organise a regional action group for Germany. If you are interested please email her christa@wellm.de

Did you buy your policy through the Guernsey office?
John Bolland wants to join others in his action through the Guernsey courts.

Please send e-mails to john@bitec.fsnet.co.uk and JOHNBOLLAND@terra.es.

EMAG continues to represent international policyholders in the fight for justice and compensation.

News:

  • March 2011 — EMAG's Paul Braithwaite will be meeting Sharon Bowles MEP, chair of the EU 's powerful Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee
  • December 2010 — European Parliament
    On 1 December Paul Braithwaite of EMAG gave MEP members on the Petitions Committee an update on matters Equitable. The Parliament took up the case in 2005 and continues to seek justice and redress on behalf of investors across Europe.

    Read Paul Braithwaite's speech

    There were supportive responses from Mairead McGuinness, Diana Wallis and a passionate speech by the Labour Party's West Midlands MEP, Michael Cashman.

    Read the official EU Parliament press release.
  • November 2010 — EMAG issued a pre-action protocol letter to Treasury referring to the plight of non UK domiciled investors.
  • EMAG to the Treasury 27 November 2010:
    "We also require clarification of part of the statement made by the Chancellor of the Exchequer to the House of Commons on 20 October 2010. In the course of that statement he said, ‘We will also help those across the United Kingdom who have lost money as a result of the collapse of Equitable Life.&rsquio; The previous Government intended that any scheme of compensation would be extended to investors in other parts of the European Union, in particular those in Ireland and Germany, whose regulators relied on the assessments of the UK regulators. This Government has not made any public statement which is inconsistent with that position. Please confirm that the benefit of any scheme of compensation will be extended to investors who are resident outside the United Kingdom. If the Government does intend to exclude non-UK residents from the scheme, kindly let us know the basis on which this decision has been reached, as no reasons have been given."
  • Treasury reply to EMAG 22 December 2010:
    Non UK policyholders: as far as the Treasury is concerned, non UK policyholders are being treated in the same way as UK policyholders. Their losses are included in the calculation for relative losses. Allocation between different categories of policyholders will of course be the subject of advice from the Independent Commission, which has yet to be published.
  • July 2010 EMAG wrote to 7,000 German policyholders
    Equitable Life Ausgleich:
    Würden Sie nur 20% Ihrer Verluste akzeptieren?
    Sehr geehrter Versicherungsnehmer,
    mit dem Regierungswechsel in Großbritannien im Mai sah es so aus, als würden mehrere tausend Versicherungsnehmer in Deutschland (und Irland) zusammen mit vielen weiteren Geschädigten in Großbritannien endlich den verdienten Ausgleich für ihre aufgrund schwerwiegenden Versagens britischer Finanzregulierungsbehörden in Bezug auf die durch die Equitable Life zwischen 1990 und 2000 entstandenen Verluste erhalten.

    Read the full letter
  • June 2010 — EMAG wrote to 12,000 Irish policyholders
    "With the change of UK government in May it looked as though several thousand policyholders in Ireland (and Germany), together with many more in the UK, would finally be about to receive the compensation they deserve for the losses they incurred resulting from the serious failures of the UK's financial regulators of Equitable Life, between 1990 and 2000.
    We ask you to help to win fair compensation by writing urgently to your three Members of the European Parliament, reminding of the recommendation of redress of the EQUI special committee of inquiry into Equitable Life and seeking his or her urgent help."

    Read the full letter.
  • 13 September 2005 - EMAG’s presentation to the E U Petitions Committee.
  • 18 August '05 - EMAG-Schreiben an deutsche Anleger über das EMAG-Gesuch
  • 8 August '05 - EMAG Petition in Deutsche.
  • 31 July '05 - Equitable Petition: To deny failure devalues success.
  • 9 May '05 - Letter from PO on Internationals and remit
  • 14 March '04 - For German investors in ELAS
    The following notice is in German for our contacts in that country. It states that the translated petition will be shortly available on the EMAG site. The involvement of German investors will extend and increase political pressure across Europe for the EMAG petition for compensation at the European Parliament.

    Anmerkung für deutsche Versicherungsnehmer
    Die Petition wird in Kürze in deutcher Sprache auf dieser Website verfügbar sein.
  • 01 January '04 - The number of non UK European policyholders: official figures
    EMAG has been asked by MEP Chris Huhne, how many non-UK European policyholders have been affected by the Equitable scandal. The answer is between 10,000 and 15,000, according to Alistair Dunbar of the Society. We are grateful that he has provided EMAG with details culled from the regulatory returns for years 1999 and 2000 and they show of the order of 8,300 with-profits policyholders in Eire, 4,000 in Germany and circa 6,800 purchased through the Guernsey letter-box sales office that was actually operated in Milton Keynes. The disparity is explained by multiple policies held by some individuals.

    MEPs in the European Parliament could and should be concerned that more than 10,000 non-UK European purchasers have been left high and dry by the total indifference of the ULK regulators and British government.
  • 26 November '04 - The German ELAS action group:
    EMAG would like to congratulate its German counterpart, DAGEV, on its recent formal registration. It's website, with up-to-date information for the 30,000 ELAS policyholders in Germany, is at: http://www.dagev.de/

    The DAGEV group's chairman is Markus Weyer and he can be contacted by E-Mail at info@dagev.de
    Tel: 00.49 (0)221 963 997 90 Fax: 0049(0)221 963 997 91
    EMAG believes that the group will also be submitting a petition to Brussels.
  • 6 June '04 - Equitable Policyholders in Germany
    30,000 policies were sold in Germany. A group to represent them has been formed and can be contacted at: http://www.dagev.de
  • 15 September '03 - International Update

    Offers of compensation to International Policyholders and, in particular, German policyholders.

    I have recently received a communication from a German policyholder who has received an offer of compensation from ELAS subject to her agreeing not to take further legal action against the company.

    The policyholder concerned is very unhappy to lose a large amount of the value of her policy for something ELAS refers to as the "GAR"s issue as she states that no one at ELAS told her anything about any such issue when she bought the policy. She therefore wants to know who can best advise her.

    For anyone else in a similar position I suggest that you take the matter to the German regulator at:-

    Bundesanstalt für
    Finanzdienstleistungs-Aufsicht,
    Graurheindorfer Str. 108,
    D-53003 Bonn,
    Telephone no. 49 228 418080.

    Though the control of Equitable Life is due to the British FSA, the above authority observes whether the insurance company of another EC-country applies the valid rules of the country in which it was acting. Complaints by the German policyholders might lead to an intervention by this controlling board.

    The same applies to other groups such as French and Spanish policyholders who wish to complain. You must make your complaint to the national regulator.

    If anyone would be so kind as to advise me of the addresses of these regulators, then I will publish it on the notice board.

    I am also looking as to how we can bridge the language barrier for these non english speaking policyholders, so notices in the national languages concerned would be appreciated.

    Les_uk2003@yahoo.co.uk

  • 28 May '03 - Key points for International policyholders from ELAS AGM
    Lesley Seymour's notes on the implications of statements at the AGM for internatinal policy holders.
  • 12 April 2003 - Guernsey FSC, UK Ombudsman, and legal progress

    A lot has been happening in the last three months and I hope that internationals had a chance to see EMAG in the excellent Money TV programme "Death of Equitable Life" on Thursday 27th March. If not, try to find a video recording so you can watch it. You will gain a great deal of insight about the work of EMAG during the past months.

    To find out what action was being taking to help ELAS "international" policyholders, I met officials at Guernsey Financial Services Commission last month. I was particularly concerned that they should be better communicating their activities via their web site.

    They advised me that they were responding to policyholder queries in as much detail as possible and were still using the services of their solicitors, Norton Rose to assist them in their replies. I asked if some of these replies could be reflected in their web site, and they are following up on this request. I will place a notice on the EMAG web site when this has been done.

    Since then one "international" policyholder has advised me that the UK Financial Ombudsman helpdesk told her that they would not handle complaints about ELAS operations from Guernsey as it was "offshore".

    This is not correct.

    Should you be told the same, then please refer the UK Ombudsman service to the News within the Insurance Section of the Guernsey Commission's website http://www.gfsc.guernseyci.com. There you will see that the Commission reported in September 2002 that the UK Ombudsman accepted jurisdiction to review complaints from Equitable Guernsey Branch Policyholders after the Press Release issued in August 2002.

    I also met a Guernsey lawyer who advised that a promising case for compensation could be brought against ELAS in Guernsey. However such an approach would involve some considerable fund raising and has the moral dilemma that any payouts would have to come from the with profit fund - with the consequential losses to those policyholders who cannot leave. So I have been examining other possibilities.

    I made enquiries about taking action in the European courts and met the lawyers from UNIFI who had brought a case regarding pensions to the European Court of Justice - and won! This has encouraged me to build a complaint concerning the apparent failings of the UK regulator over many years with a view to bringing an action in Europe (I understand that the regulator has legal immunity in the UK). EMAG commissioned several studies which have recently provided excellent material to take the matter further. I will keep you informed of progress.

    Meanwhile I learn that the legal "standstill agreement" with ELAS lawyers has been extended to the end of May to permit a compensation proposal to be made to policyholders based on individual situations and not on the idea of "one size fits all". I will look forward to seeing this proposal before investing extensively in the European course of action.

    Could I please finish this new item with a request for your favourable response to the next call for funds from EMAG?

    A great deal of hard work has been done over the past year, and some considerable achievements have been made by your volunteer committee.

    However the items I have referred to in the above - the professional reports, the news service, the travel expenses, and the professional lobbying, all involve expenditure which has to be made on your behalf.

    Would you therefore please send your financial contribution to enable us to keep the fight going.

    Leslie Seymour.

  • 22 December '02 - Europe, your options, and international contacts

    In view of recent press articles regarding complaints being made to the European Commission and suggestions of action in European Courts, I have searched for details in European court records, and in as much of European commission references as I could.

    As I could not find anything relevant, I contacted a judge from the European court and asked if he would personally check to see if there was a relevant case pending. He has investigated and replied that there are no such preliminary activities and that he understood that the ELAS problem was still to be resolved by the UK's regulator, the FSA.

    This leaves internationals with a number of options they may wish to pursue, as follows.

    • Support the Penrose inquiry by sending details of your experiences. Consider being included in the selected case study list from EMAG. Either way you will play your part in ensuring that the inquiry will have to report on the activities of the society and its regulator because of the number of sales made to international policyholders. (We already have one person who has volunteered to be on the international case study list and we are seeking a second.)
    • Make your complaint to the FOS. After much lobbying the FOS has recognised that policies sold through Guernsey were in fact generated from the UK, so it has jurisdiction. This will establish the existence of your complaint and your claim.
    • Make a complaint to the European commission about cross-border sales of financial services. See http://europa.eu.int/comm/consumers/index_en.html for further details. This will raise the profile of the problem to the EU commission.
    • Find out the details of your MEP and write a letter of complaint. (for the name of your MEP see http://www.europarl.org.uk/uk_meps/txukmeps/txmain.html ). This will raise the profile of the problem to the European parliament.
    • Consider direct action in conjunction with others. For example, John Bolland has written saying that he has started such action and 'Guernsey advocates have already been briefed and are therefore up to speed on the basic background of the matter. They have been in contact with ELAS and their solicitors.' Settlement of such disputes through group action should reduce costs and effort both by members and the society. Settlement should also enable the society to put the past behind it, and to concentrate on its core business for the benefit of current members. (see notice board for contact details.)
    • Consider contacting others to decide your own action. You can put a message up on the international notice board and get details of other policyholders in a similar situation. This may reduce any feeling of isolation and help you to find a solution to your own problem.
    • Keep monitoring the EMAG web site for updates on what is happening.
  • 8 December '02 - European Regulators

    As you no doubt know, European countries have their own individual regulators who control the conduct of companies selling insurance/assurance type policies within their jurisdiction.

    It would be very useful material in any European court action to know about the response from these regulators to complaints made by international policyholders.

    Please would you send details by e-mail to: Leslie.Seymour@skynet.be

  • 16 November '02 News update - and a request for your help

Documents:

Correspondence:

Contact:

Leslie Seymour was co-opted to the EMAG committee in May with special responsibility for International policyholders. If you wish to contact him then please email Leslie.Seymour@skynet.be

Protected National Groups

(Corrected 28 August 2001)
We understand (according to our best efforts to date) that policyholders of the national subsidiaries of Equitable Life in Dubai, Germany and the Republic of Ireland (Eire) are protected under national law from some of the consequences of the House of Lords GAR decision whilst holders of policies purchased in Guernsey (excepting Dubai residents ) are actually in the same position as UK policyholders since their policies appear to have been purchased from agents of the UK company.

  1. Germany (ELD) policies:
    • NO cut in policy values
    • NO MVA
    • Removal of bonuses from 1 Jan 2001 to 30June 2001
    • Reduction in bonuses from 1 July to 6%
  2. ROI (Dublin) policies:
    • NO cut in policy values.
    • NO removal of bonuses
    • Reduction in bonuses from 1 Jan to 6%
    • MVA has always been 10% and still is
  3. Guernsey policies (Dubai residents)
    Under UAE legislation the original capital must be preserved. i.e if the end result of policy value deductions and removal of bonuses etc. resulted in a loss on the original investment sum, the deductions would have to be adjusted to ensure the original investment amount was preserved.