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: 17/07/2003 - Letter to Ms Drake of the FSA from Paul Braithwaite

17 July '03 - Letter to Ms Drake of the FSA from Paul Braithwaite

Dear Ms Drake,

We spoke yesterday. You assured me then that plenty of time would be available to take all questions, those pre-registered and those from the floor. On that basis I encouraged several of our members to attend. But it didn't happen.

Your 'event' was meant to be consumer-friendly. It wasn't. Running it in Canary Wharf at 9.30am may suit staff and financial service providers but it means that you're not going to get any consumers from north of Watford.

EMAG has a large number of members who took the best part of a day to get up at crack-of-dawn to attend what turned out to be a self-serving 100 minutes with minimal questions. Leslie Seymour flew from Brussels with a vital question on EC harmonisation.

I am aware of a least half a dozen pre-registered questions from EMAG members, not exclusively concerned with Equitable Life. I believe about 20 questions in total must have been pre-registered and you all knew the number and content in advance though no attempt was made to address them.. Just two of the pre-registered questions (Rodney Allen and Alex Henney). In total only 8 questions were addressed. A travesty.

Several EMAG members had burning questions they wished to ask and be answered IN PUBLIC. They went away frustrated.

I append the questions they were to have asked. At the very least, I ask that you to include them all in the Q and A that Sir Howard promised would be published on your website - but this is scant consolation. Many pensioners have no access to the web.

Can I make two constructive suggestions:

1. If you are to run industry seminars like today's (and I did attend the retail session) then do those FIRST and run the public forum in the middle of the day.

2. To encourage participation from the public, which didn't actually seem to be an objective today, run the event at the NEC.

I think the majority of 'ordinary people' like me who attended will have felt unwelcomed and will be in no hurry to repeat the experience. A pity.

Kind regards,

Paul B
cc EMAG's website "www.emag.org.uk"