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


10 December '03 - Minutes of the 34th committee meeting of EMAG

Held at:   National Liberal Club, London
Present:   Alex Henney (Chairman), Colin Slater, Paul Braithwaite, Rodney Allen, Chris Carnaghan, Tom Lake, Mike Neal, Leslie Seymour and Colin Slater, plus three EMAG members - Stewart and Carole Simpson, and Gabrielle de Pauw.
Apologies:   received from Betty McCann (Treasurer).

Since EMAG is engaged in the process of possibly applying for a Judicial Review seeking to quash the report on Equitable Life by the Parliamentary Ombudsman, the committee has concluded that it would be prudent for the time being to omit reporting on certain items of the meeting's content.

  1. The Treasurer's report, summarising financial movements to 30th November, was agreed and signed. CS provided an encouraging update on EMAG's current fundraising.

  2. AH and PB reported on the exchange of correspondence with the committee's chairman and the meeting of the Commons Select Committee on Public Administration on 27th November, at which the Parliamentary Commissioner for Administration (aka Parliamentary Ombudsman, Ombudsman or PO) gave evidence of a very generalised nature to MPs on the commiittee.

    PB reported that a new Early Day Motion, 176, calling for government action on ELAS has been tabled by Dr Ian Gibson (Lab) but that the Tories were refusing to support.

  3. Stewart Simpson (MR P in the PO's report) described his on-the-record meeting with the PO on 4th December. PB was also present, along with EMAG's lawyer Stephen Grosz. SS now waits for the PO's response, due by January 15th, to his verbal and written request that her report should be rewritten in the light of the new information that he provided. The Committee agreed to defer its decision on how to proceed with its application for Judicial Review until after the PO had responded to SS.

  4. CS presented his paper (circulated in advance) on EMAG's response to the PO's report and this was considered along with new written advice from EMAG's solicitor re the formulation of the JR. It was confirmed that EMAG has several distinct grounds for seeking a JR.

  5. Item temporarily censored.

  6. LS reported on promising developments on the European Union front, with several lines of advance towards pursuit of UK regulators for failure. In recent comparable cases in Germany and Luxembourg, the governments were required to compensate individual citizens.

    LS has met informally with a UK lawyer who has experience in relevant areas, and will invite the solicitor to talk to the Committee at the next EMAG committee meeting. CC will help LS to prepare short articles for Irish and German press.

  7. PB reported that ELAS's Tony McGarahan has broached the idea of a meeting between ELAS directors and EMAG committee members. The suggestion was well received and PB will progress.

  8. PB raised the prospect of EMAG making a formal submission to the Commons Treasury Select Committee, in its enquiry on "Renewing confidence in long-term savings". This was agreed to be a worthwhile idea, and AH - who has already worked on the topic - offered to prepare a paper based on the relevance and lesson from ELAS.

  9. Under "Any Other Business" the relationship with lobbyists Bell-Pottinger was reviewed and PB was asked to renegotiate terms to include the period of publication of the Penrose Inquiry report.

Next meeting: Wednesday 21st January, 2004 at 7 pm, in the Small Mall Room of the Royal Automobile Clubhouse. Due to limitations of space, any member wishing to attend should E-mail a request in advance to: "emagpr@yahoo.com"

Chris Carnaghan and Paul Braithwaite
12th December, 2003