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: 30/11/2005 - EMAG’s letter to the FSA 30 Nov

EMAG’s letter to the FSA 30 Nov

Subject: Concern about the break-up of Equitable Life

To: clive.briault@fsa.gov.uk (Managing director, Retail Division)

Dear Mr Briault,

EMAG Ltd asks for an urgent meeting with the FSA to air our serious Concerns about the rumoured break-up and the stewardship of Equitable Life.

Equitable's chairman Vanni Treves and his hand-picked team of directors were ratified by the members of the mutual on a platform of openness (as advertised in the national press). It has been sadly lacking and never more so than of late.

The members are the owners and should be told clearly if the business is about to be sold - not expected to find out what is happening via a series of leaks to favoured journalists.

Policyholders would also appreciate an explanation of why a mutual insurance company, shut for the last five years, needs the services of another expensive PR consultancy - this one with close links to Government.

EMAG is not against the disposal of parts of the business to reputable insurers, PROVIDING the over-arching consideration is the long-term benefit of policyholders. But we are opposed to a hasty break-up of the business in a fire sale to vultures. EMAG regards this prospect with the suspicion that burying Equitable Life once and for all may be attractive to the Government, the Treasury and the FSA.

The strategy of the Equitable's board during its four-and-a-half-year tenure has been fast run-off and to litigate. This has proved to be a tragic wasted opportunity. The profligate frittering of circa £40m on ill-conceived litigation that policyholders could ill afford has understandably undermined trust in the board.

EMAG Ltd, a group that has for more than five years sought to represent ALL classes of Equitable Life's policyholders, seeks an early meeting with you and members of your FSA team to discuss policyholder protection in the context of the prospective break-up of the Society implied by the apparent retention of Lexicon Partners and possibly Goldman Sachs (see Christine Seib in The Times 25 November) http://business.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,9063-1890241,00.html

For background on EMAG Ltd and the current parlous situation, see our website at: www.emag.org.uk

Yours sincerely,

Paul Braithwaite
General secretary of EMAG Ltd
CC: "John Tiner FSA" john.tiner@fsa.gov.uk