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

Correspondence: 08/03/2005 - EMAG wrote to the FOS complaining of delay in decision re Penrose.

Walter Merricks, Esq
Chief Ombudsman
Financial Ombudsman Service
183 Marsh Wall
London E14 9SR
The Equitable Members' Action Group (EMAG)
42 Bartholomew Villas
Kentish Town
London NW5 2LL

8 March 2005

Dear Mr. Merricks,

Today is the anniversary of the presentation to the Commons of Lord Penrose's Report by the then financial secretary to the Treasury, Ruth Kelly.

During her short speech she suggested that the alternative avenues for redress for policyholders' complainants, based on the new evidence in the Penrose Report, were to Court or to your free FOS adjudication service.

It reflects badly on your organisation that fully one year on, the Treasury's recommended recourse route remains dormant, with no Penrose-related claims having yet, as we understand it, been progressed by the FOS.

In early December you called for responses from any ELAS complainants who wished to respond to the complex submission made by ELAS's compliance director to you on 15 November. ELAS, with the help of its expert solicitors Lovells, had enjoyed over eight months to craft its highly controversial paper. You gave complainants (and EMAG) just three weeks after you had published it, through the Christmas holidays, to respond. You were most emphatic that any submissions must be received by you before the end of 2004.

We note with growing concern that already ten weeks having passed since that cut-off date without any public decision from you on whether the FOS will, as was indicated by the Treasury, be proceeding.

We are aware that, aside from this Penrose-related hot potato, thousands of ELAS complainants are still awaiting, some for more than three years, quantum and adjudications by the FOS. Justice delayed is justice denied. It seems to EMAG that DELAY is the name of the game in matters Equitable by the Society, by the FSA and, regrettably, seemingly by the Financial Ombudsman Service.

Yours sincerely,

Paul Braithwaite
General secretary of EMAG
CC TreasCom, the Press, EMAG website