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


News - 2012

  • 31/10/2012 - The APPG met on 25 October

    This was the group's AGM and the Executive was duly re–elected. About 20 MPs and researchers attended and they were shown the video of pre–1992 case studies. Paul Weir and Paul Braithwaite provided an update on the failing ELPS payment Scheme. MPs also heard a provocative presentation by Professor Richard Roberts of his report ‘Did anyone learn anything from the Equitable Life?’. New APPG member and recently in the Cabinet, Rt Hon Cheryl Gillan MP, took a keen new interest in Equitable victims' plight.

    Read Professor Robert' speech.

    Read Prof Roberts full Report.

    The APPG now has 163 MP members. Is yours one? www.emag.org.uk/justice_group.php

    Minutes of this APPG meeting will be published here when approved by the Executive.

  • 26/10/2012 - EMAG met the new minister

    On 25 October EMAG's chairman, Alex Henney, plus directors Paul Weir and Paul Braithwaite had a first meeting with the new minister responsible for Equitable Life, Sajid Javid MP, and the Treasury's team manager Giles Thomson. EMAG asked that the minister form his own view, rather than trust Apparatchiks. In particular, we asked him to look with fresh eyes at the patent injustice to the pre–1992s, just as Patrick McLoughlin (Secretary of State for Transport) did recently with the West Coast Main Line rail franchise contract.

  • 05/10/2012 - Mark Hoban out, Sajit Javid MP in

    In David Cameron's September ministerial re–shuffle, Mark Hoban MP, was shifted sideways to become a junior minister in the Department of Work and Pensions. Good riddance.

    He proved to be the Equitable's victims' road–block to delivering on the Coalition–s promise from the day of his appointment. Hoban followed a long line of patsies including Ruth Kelly, Ian Pearson and Kitty Usher. Could it be the case that Treasury mandarins have always been the ones writing the script?

    The decision to re–run the rail franchise bidding process for the West Coast Mail Line has prompted a re–think on the soundness of what civil servants tell their ministers. New Secretary of State for Transport, Patrick McLoughlin has displayed admirable steel is calling a halt to signing a contract with FirstGroup and instigating two internal enquiries into the workings of his civil servants. Will the new Treasury minister responsible for Equitabler Life, Sajit Javid repeat the blind trust showed by previous ministers or will he actually listen with an open mind to the protests of policyholders who tell him and every MP that will listen that the Treasury is not honouring the Coalitions promise?

    Responsibility for Equitable is now with Tory MP Sajit Javid MP (Bromsgrove), the new Economic Secretary to the Treasury. On EMAG's behalf, I approached him within minutes of the confirmation of his Equitable role. Representatives from EMAG's board will meet him late in October.

  • 05/10/2012 - The compensation Scheme isn't performing

    The compensation Scheme administrators Atos in Glasgow continue to perform abysmally. Still, thousands of Equitable victims have yet to achieve any clarity about whether they will receive any compensation.

    You can ring 0300.0200.150, quote your Equitable Life with profits policy number and enquire. Results have been variable. The Scheme administration is consistently failing to deliver policyholders ‘core data reports’, as promised in writing by Mark Hoban to be available on request. This is extraordinary, given that the data was handed over by the Society to the Treasury's actuaries, Towers Watson, more than two years ago. Any written request is logged as a complaint.

  • 05/10/2012 - Equitable Life after 250 years

    To note the Society's 250th anniversary of formation, Equitable commissioned Professor Dick Roberts of King's College London to prepare a study of ‘Did anyone learn anything from the Equitable Life?’ Four of EMAG's directors attended the presentation lecture on 7th September. Read the references Professor Roberts made to EMAG. His overriding conclusion is that regulators have learned nothing.

    EMAG's chairman Alex Henney and John Nerwman both asked hard–hitting questions from the floor in the Q&A which followed. Both Lord Owen and Alex Brummer preoved to be interesting commentators. An edited film of the event will be available of the Equitable website.

    Alex Brummer wrote in the Daily Mail on 7th September:

    "Professor Richard Roberts, observes that there were certain tell–tale indications that Equitable should have been scrutinised much more carefully.
    Indeed, some of the features of the Equitable model — most notably hubris — were played out again in the banking crisis of 2007/08 and were still around during the summer when the domineering Barclays chief executive Bob Diamond was forced out of office."
  • 05/10/2012 - The Equitable's All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG)

    The next meeting, the AGM, will be held on 25th October, when MPs will hear from EMAG and Prof Richard Roberts. Thanks to the persistence of our members across the country the number of MPs who have joined the ‘Justice for Equitable Life policyholders’ all party group has swelled to an impressive 160 MPs and the latest recruit is David Milliband.

  • 05/10/2012 - EMAG's Westminster Rally 24th October

    EMAG is holding a ticket–only Rally at the Central Hall Westminster on 24th October and it's already almost a sell–out. Speakers will be Honor Blackman, Caroline Lucas, Tim Farron, Fabian Hamilton and others.

    A short film has just been made of annuitants' experiences and that will start the proceedings. The Rally will be followed by a mass demonstration of EMAG members outside the Commons' St Stephen's entrance.

  • 05/10/2012 - ‘You and Yours’

    Radio 4's ‘You and Yours’ are working with EMAG on a feature looking at the progress (or lack of) of the Equitable Life Payment Scheme.

  • 05/10/2012 - EMAG's Report & Accounts and AGM

    The AGM for paid–up current EMAG members is to be held once again at the Birmingham Midland Institute in the early afternoon of Thursday 15th November. EMAG's board, who continue to give their director services for free, hope to meet you there.

    We are currently preparing the annual accounts for the year to July, which should be with members in late October. Watch out for the annual update and invitation to renew support by subscription to EMAG for 2013.

  • 05/10/2012 - Some interesting recent web links

    Read about Sajid Javid's political career.

    Find out about the complaints procedure to the Independent Review Panel.

    Download Prof. Richard Roberts Report.

    Read the Daily Mail's Alex Brummer's appraisal.

    Find out about the complaints procedure to the Independent Review Panel.

    Mark Hoban ‘shunted’. Financial Times report 4th September.

    Read an extensive profile on Equitable Life's chief executive, Chris Wiscarson, published in the Sunday Telegraph on 9th September.

    Is your MP one of the Equitable Life APPG's 160 members? www.emag.org.uk/justice_group.php

  • 31/07/2012 - The Scheme has failed the Equitable's victims

    37,000 eligible with profits annuitants (WPAs) were led to believe their first compensation payment would be made "by June 2012". The FACT is that 12,000 (30%) have been appallingly let down. And, even worse, for WPAs who took their annuity before September 1992, they are being passed over and have not so much as received a letter.

  • 31/07/2012 - Haven't heard? How to complain:

    Minister Mark Hoban assured on 2nd July MPs that complaints amount to only one quarter of one percent of eligible policyholders. He may have spoken too soon. People who had heard nothing weren't in a position to complain. There are an estimated 987,000 eligible policyholders and less than 30% of them had received any payment by the end of June. Do, please complain if you feel aggrieved — and copy in your MP — to:

    Equitable Life Payment Scheme PO Box 4110 Glasgow G58 1EL

    IF you are unsatisfied with the response, then the independent complaints procedure has FINALLY surfaced and is explained at: http://equitablelifepaymentscheme.independent.gov.uk/irp/index.htm.

  • 31/07/2012 - EMAG hits back at contemptuous Hoban

    When Mark Hoban sent his replies to two letters from MPs in the APPG (after delays of many weeks), NOT to those MPs but to the Financial Times in the first instance, his contempt was plain to see. EMAG was obliged to highlight his deplorable letters and we wrote on 23rd July to all APPG MPs:

    "EMAG considers the minister's responses to be an extraordinary display of dissembling and contempt towards MPs and the victims of the Equitable Life debacle.

    Copies of Mark Hoban's reply letters were sent to a journalist on the Financial Times on Monday 11th July and the journalist immediately asked EMAG to comment. But EMAG had not seen the letters and neither had the APPG's officers..."

    (read more...)

  • 31/07/2012 - ‘That letter’ compounded confusion

    In a panic, the Scheme sent out hundreds of thousands of letters, at huge expense, over the weekend of 29th June. Just to be able to say that they had written to 496,000 individual policyholders — but concealing the failure to write to the further 505,000 people with Equitable Life group scheme policies. The letter was most unhelpful. In essence it said: "We'll be in touch with you again by the end of April 2013". The trouble is, it was sent to thousands who had already received their 22% payment and to thousands of eligible WPAs who had heard nothing. Notwithstanding, EMAG believes the 12,000 WPAs will be prioritised and are likely to receive their first payment much sooner than implied.

  • 31/07/2012 - Mark Hoban MPs ministerial statement, 2nd July

    The Equitable Life payment scheme has written to approximately 90% of all eligible individual policyholders to inform them of their status within the scheme, and that payments have been made to 288,823 policyholders. In addition, the scheme has today published a further progress report...

  • 31/07/2012 - Compensation Scheme update

    "263,608 non With–Profits Annuitants have received their lump sum payment from the Scheme, totalling £248,163,266.

    27,671 With–Profits Annuitants have been contacted by the Scheme regarding their payment and 25,215 annuitants have received their first payment from the Scheme, totalling £29,564,402..."

    Read the Treasury's full update of 2 July 2012.

    EMAG issued an immediate rebuttal letter sent to all 650 MPs within 24 hours of Mark Hoban having published his grossly misleading summary of how the Scheme was going:

    Read the letter sent by EMAG to MPs on 3 July.

  • 08/06/2012 - Prioritising the oldest first (not)

    The Treasury minister, Mark Hoban, had undertaken to follow the independent commission (ICELP) recommendation to prioritise the most elderly and Estates of those who have died. It hasn't happened. The payouts have been to the simplest cases first, with absolutely no regard to age. And EMAG believes no estates have yet been paid.

  • 08/06/2012 - ELPS letters requesting address verification

    Tens of thousands of Equitable Life policyholders known to be eligible for compensation have been receiving letters asking for various proof documentation like passport, utility bills etc prior to receiving compensation. It was implied that they are being sent where there's either uncertainty because of possible changed address or where compensation is substantial. EMAG can confirm this is poppycock. We have numerous examples of members who haven't changed address in decades whose with profits policies are modest. Documents are taking up to seven weeks to be returned. And sending them promptly seems to not have resulted in payment being expedited.

  • 08/06/2012 - Group scheme policyholders still waiting

    It is apparent that the 505,000 eligible policyholders who were in group schemes have not yet begun to be tackled, though the administrators have made preliminary contact with some scheme trustees.

  • 08/06/2012 - No free rides

    EMAG recently mailed letters to lapsed members who had not renewed their EMAG subscriptions. In consequence more than 1,500 re–subscribed. But we have de–listed the non–responders, so that they no longer receive our regular emailed newsletters. Nor will they be receiving our periodic posted information which, with the cost of stamps and printing is a considerable expense. You can therefore be sure that no–one is getting a free ride.

  • 08/06/2012 - Recruitment drive to get the missing 77.6%

    The majority of non–annuitants are receiving letters notifying them of the pitiful compensation they will receive. That letter makes clear in black and white for the first time that the Treasury has calculated the inividual's losses at £X,000 but they are only to receive a payout of 22.4%. This is shocking many recipients. Which is why (with the help of Honor Blackman) EMAG is embarking on a recruitment initiative to ask those individuals whether they'd be willing to join EMAG in fighting for the rest of what's due.

  • 05/04/2012 - Compensation now flowing ‘thin and fast’

    EMAG has recently received a cascade of members confirming they now have their notice of the payments they will be receiving...at last. We now have sufficient case studies that we have been able to pass on (anonymised) to our actuaries to reverse–engineer the Scheme's calculation methodology to check its veracity. We will be reporting soon on that study. Do note that at least the compensation warrants you receive are tax free and need not be declared.

    The actual Scheme letters are causing confusion and consternation as people don't understand the letters. Some have challenged the way the figures have been arrived at, only to receive inscrutable written replies simply referring them to the lengthy and complex Scheme details, published in May 2011. Realise, please, that you are entitled to demand the basis of your compensation calculation by asking in writing for what the Scheme describes as your ‘core data report’.

  • 05/04/2012 - They've been going slow to get it right!

    In a revealing private interrogation in a TreasCom sub–committee the two top Treasury bureaucrats made some frank revelations. They've been going slow to be sure the right people get the money but they hope to have distributed up to £300 million of the authorised £1.5 billion by May and the scheme is costing £45 million to administer. We get this insight from a transcript of a sub–committee session of Treascom on Wednesday 24th February with answers from Permanent Secretary, Sir Nicholas Macpherson (NMc), and Julian Kelly (JK), Finance and Commercial Director, both of HM Treasury:

    On explaining why just £71m of £1.5bn had been paid out in the first seven months to 1st February:

    NMc: "It is a massive logistical task, making these payment...We put a lot of emphasis on ensuring that money went to the right people. We got it right first time. That has required a huge amount of checking about people's addresses."

    JK: "It (compensation paid) will be somewhere in the order of £200 — £300 million by the end of the financial year." (April 2012)

    NMc: "...people seem reasonably satisfied with the treatment they are getting. But I recognise the urgency, and the people who are doing this are giving weekly reports to Mark Hoban..."

    On cost of running the compensation Scheme:

    NMc: "It is more like £45 million for the total cost of delivering the Scheme over the four year period."

  • 05/04/2012 - Mark Hoban's silence

    On 23rd December the Executive of the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) wrote to Mark Hoban seeking for him to reconsider and include the pre–1992 with profits annuitants. As of the end of March they had not received any reply. Read the letter.

    The excuses for exclusion that have been given are many and varied. It started with ‘They were outwith the Scheme because they'd signed an irreversible pension contract before they could have possibly known about any maladministration’. Why should that exclude them from the PO's recommendation to dispense ‘natural justice’ not ‘black letter law’? Next came: ‘They we over–bonused and actually benefitted from the maladministration’. Then there was the calculation, using Sir John Chadwick's hypothetical creation of ‘Reconstructed Equitable Life (REL)’ which when applied (but only up to the year 2001 — not to the year 2009 applied to those eligible) also showed the pre–1992s apparently had not lost. These weasels were comprehensively demolished by the definitive study by independent actuary David Forfar in September, which proved incontrovertibly that the pre–1992s have truly suffered EXACTLY the same losses in the years since 2002 as those 37,000 with profits annuitants deemed eligible.

    Then Mark Hoban tried to get away with saying that the exclusion was down to the PO. But more and more MPs have read and understood that the PO herself put in writing twice in 2009 that she intended that the pre–1992s should be included because they suffered the same consequences of maladministration.

    Now Mark Hoban is falling back on: ‘MPs voted for their exclusion at the third reading on 10th November, 2010.’ Whilst technically true, MPs simply didn't understand that they were voting down an amendment for the inclusion of pre–1992s when they had been led to believe by the whips that they were voting for the compensation payment scheme. That went through on the nod one hour later. It's hard to believe a minister of the Crown could sink to such depths to deny justice to the oldest and frailest.

  • 05/04/2012 - Equitable contemplates a buy–out for its 3.5% GIR guaranteed annual return

    Many of Equitable's with–profits policies commenced before 1996, when every with–profits policy had an embedded 3.5% annual return. With the new Solvency 2 requirements, the board's investment flexibility is more restricted by the increased capital reserving required. Simultaneously, because of ever–increasing quantitative easing, long–term gilt returns are low, creating a tension. The ELAS board is consulting its members on whether they'd be willing to give up their embedded GIR guarantee in return for a boost to their policy value, to facilitate greater investment flexibility for the with-profits fund which currently has only a small proportion of the £6 billion fund invested in equities.

    See ‘Equitable considers guarantee buyout’ — Financial Times, by Josephine Cumbo 23rd March 2012:

    Equitable considers guarantee buyout

    Equitable Life is considering plans to buy out valuable guarantees that give its 400,000 with–profits policyholders a buffer against poor investment returns.

    Many Equitable Life savings, investments and pensions policies bought before 1996 included guaranteed investment returns (GIRs) which pay a minimum 3.5 per cent if actual returns on assets fail to reach this level. Plans bought after 1996 have GIRs which will prevent the policy from falling in value if investment returns are negative.

    These guarantees, which were written into contracts, have provided a safety net against poor markets for hundreds of policyholders who typically hold the plans for 20–25 years.

    GIRs are paid out at the end of a policy term and are separate from guaranteed bonuses and guaranteed annuity rates on pensions.

    But the mutual life insurance company has begun testing appetite for change by asking focus groups of customers whether they would be interested in exchanging their guarantees for a cash lump sum of 12.5–25 per cent of the value of their plans.

    Equitable says the move is being driven by the forthcoming introduction of more stringent capital adequacy requirements, known as ‘Solvency II’, which will force it to hold hundreds of millions more pounds of reserves to cover these guarantees.

    Cash for the buyout would come from the solvency capital pot, currently worth about £800m, releasing funds for policyholders and also reducing the need for steeper solvency reserves.

    Chris Wiscarson, chief executive of Equitable Life, told the FT: "What's on our mind is that these solvency rules will require us to hold more capital reserves. What we are asking is: how can we fairly distribute this capital...so we don't need to take on bigger reserves to cover existing guarantees?"

    This is not the first effort to release cash for policyholders. At the end of 2010, Equitable Life announced it would enhance policy values by 12.5 per cent for with–profits policyholders leaving the society from April 2011.

    Equitable has made it clear in the past that it is a ‘driving intention’ of the board to distribute all of the society's assets, including its solvency capital, to with–profits policyholders as fairly as possible over time.

    "About a third of our 400,000 policyholders are due to retire in the next five years and they will quite properly be saying ‘how will we get our hands on the capital?’," says Wiscarson. "This swap is one of the ways we are considering getting more capital back to shareholders and getting cash in their hands.

    "What we have been doing with the focus groups over the past month is asking: ‘If we paid you a lump sum of money to increase your policy value, with possibly some of that coming as a cash sum in their hands, would that be of interest to you in return for giving up the guarantee?’ We are testing whether this can be explained in a way that policyholders will understand.’

    Equitable says it is still in the very early stages of exploring whether there is appetite for an offer, with any proposal having to be put to policyholders formally. Their average policy value is £10,000 or less, says the society.

    How large a cash sum is offered in return for giving up the GIRs would depend on a policyholder's age, how long he or she had held the plan and when the policy was due to mature.

    "To get capital back in the hands of policyholders fairly and simply must be the right thing to do," says Wiscarson. "We are going to spend a lot of time asking policyholders what they think."

    Financial advisers say that if Equitable did formally offer to buyout guarantees, then policyholders would need to think ‘long and hard’ about whether giving up an investment safety net was in their best interests.

    "From an individual policyholders point of view, do you stay and accept the valuable guarantee or do you take the cash and invest or save it elsewhere where you have more control?" says Alan Highman, chairman of Annuity Direct, the independent financial advice firm.

    "The guarantee currently gives policyholders 3.5 per cent risk-free returns. Getting this same return by independently investing would probably require a return of 5–6 per cent after charges, which is something to bear in mind."

    Over the past two years, Equitable has paid guarantees to between a quarter and a third of all policyholders when their plans matured, typically when they retired.

    If there is little appetite for the guarantee buyout, Wiscarson said another option would be to increase the 12.5 per cent enhancement. Currently, policyholders who claim their guarantees cannot also take the enhancement.

  • 05/04/2012 - Equitable Life's AGM 21st May

    Equitable Life's AGM will be held at 11am on Monday 21st May at the Holiday Inn, Regent's Park, London — the same venue as for the last couple of years. Equitable has kindly included a letter from EMAG in its Report and Accounts pack to members explaining that EMAG fights on, on their behalf too, for fairer compensation. In September the Society, the world's oldest financial mutual will be 250 years old.

  • 05/04/2012 - EMAG has a new chairman: Alex Henney

    Alex Henney — The new EMAG Chairman

    At the EMAG board meeting on 20th March John Newman stepped down as chairman, to be replaced by founding director Alex Henney, who takes on the role of chair for the second time. The thanks of the entire EMAG board were expressed to John Newman for his eight years of sterling stewardship and service to EMAG's members.

  • 05/04/2012 - The Westminster Walk

    The ‘Westminster Walk’ — once a month at PMQ's

    Now a regular feature, once a month EMAG members get together at the time of Prime Minister's Questions at noon on a designated Wednesday to protest outside Parliament. Forthcoming dates are 18th April, 2nd May, 13th June and 4th July. If you'd like to join in this grass–roots initiative, contact the organiser, Derek Lockhart at: derek.lockhart1@btinternet.com

  • 15/02/2012 - The Treasury can't do its sums

    The Update makes the claim that 20% of those deemed eligible for Compensation have received a payment. RUBBISH! It's actually less than 10% and rather less than 5% of the promised compensation has been paid out thus far.

    Quote from the 4 February update:

    "As of the end of January 2012, the Scheme had made payments to 95,601 individual policyholders totalling £70,749,471. This is approximately 20% of all individual policyholders due a payment from the Scheme. All payments made to date have been to living policyholders."

    But he independent ICELP Report (January 2010) spelled out there are 945,000 eligible non–annuitant Equitable Life policyholders. That means the Treasury has acknowledged that there are 982,000 individuals (including the 37,000 WPAs) that it recognised as eligible, of which a total of 95,600 people have received any payment 20 months after the Coalition's promise of a FAIR, SWIFT AND TRANSPARENT Scheme.


    That's UNDER 10% — not the Treasury's reported 20%.

    And the payout to date are even worse, at £70.7m of the promised £1.5 billion compensation:
    That's is under 5%.

    The payouts have been a miserable average of £844 to annuitants and even lower to the non–WPAs at an average payout of just £726.

  • 15/02/2012 - Prioritising the oldest? Out the window

    The promise to follow the ICELP Commission's recommendation of prioritising paying out the oldest first has been totally discarded, despite repeated promises by Mark Hoban. Thus far, payouts have been to the simplest and easiest policies — age has had nothing to do with it.

  • 15/02/2012 - The Treasury's update on the payment scheme

    There's a major mismatch between policyholders' reaction to the payouts and paperwork that they are receiving and the propaganda that the Treasury is feeding to MPs.

    The FACT is that the Scheme has been excruciatingly slow and that 20 months after the Coalition promising to that compensation would be fair, swift and transparent, just £70m of the promised £1.5 billion has been paid out.

    Read the Treasury's report, published 4 February, with key points marked up by EMAG in red or see it on the Treasury website.

  • 15/02/2012 - Press coverage of the payment scheme progress report

    EMAG was successful, by acting swiftly despite the Treasury's attempts to bury the Update by publishing at four in the morning on a Saturday, in getting coverage in four national newspapers.

    See EMAG's press release designed to get national press interest — headline:
    Less than 10% of Equitable victims paid in seven months’

  • 15/02/2012 - EMAG's summary of the Treasury's ELPS payment Scheme

    EMAG is getting many queries from members who are finding the official ELPS ‘helpline’ unhelpful. Here is an attempt to fill in some of the gaps. However we can't cover everything.

    When will I hear from the scheme?

    Everybody should have received a letter by the end of June 2012. By the end of January 2012, 11,000 out of deemed eligible 37,000 WPAs had received a payment and 85,000 out of 945,000 people with other policy types. NO estates have yet been paid.

    They are not working alphabetically or by policy type, or by age. It's pot luck. And you may hear about different policies at different times. So far most letters have been swiftly followed by a ‘warrant’(cheque). But they reserve the right to tell you what you will get and when but to defer payment until 2013 or 2014. No interest is payable for the delay. The payments are however tax free.

    If I bank the cheque am I agreeing it as ‘full and final settlement’?

    No, there is nothing in the letter to say that, and it would be wrong if there were. EMAG says ‘bank the cheque and fight for the rest later’.

    Why isn't ELPS prioritising the elderly like they said they would?

    The government had promised to abide by the recommendations of ICELP to prioritise payments to the most elderly first. For months we heard from people in their 50s who had received a cheque and people in their eighties who had not. Now we have the truth. They are paying out the simplest and easiest policies first, regardless of age. That also seems to apply to WPAs where single life policies are being contacted before they start on joint ones.

    What is ‘relative loss’?

    Relative loss is the loss against what you would have got investing the same amount on the same date with another provider. The catch comes in which provider or providers they use to make that comparison and in what ratios. The Treasury has failed to make this information available.

    I am a WPA — What if I die before 2016 — who gets the money?

    Any unpaid ‘past losses’ would accrue to your estate. Like an annuity, future losses are only payable so long as you are alive.

    If your question is not covered, please ask the official ELPS scheme helpline on 0300 0200 150.

  • 15/02/2012 - Things moved very fast (!) in the week before 31 Jan 2012

    On 26 January Mark Hoban wrote to EMAG, reporting that just 5,000 of the 37,000 with profits annuitants (WPAs) he deems eligible had received their first payment. Just a week later, the Treasury's update reported that the figure had shot up to 11,000 — having received a total of just £9m, or on average just £844 each. This amounts to just over £16 a week each.

    The Treasury reported that 85,000 out of 945,000 people have received a payment (9%), £61m has been paid out of £775m allocated (8%) giving an average individual cheque paid so far of £726.

    Since this large group have to share just £775 million compensation, that means they receive just one pound in five that the Treasury already acknowledges was their loss. EMAG believes this will scandalise the recipients when they see their 22% payout figure in black and white.

  • 15/02/2012 - Mark Hoban's letter to EMAG of 26th January

    In his letter Mark Hoban implicitly recognised that there are no defects in actuary David Forfar's damning report on the wrongful exclusion of the pre—1992 WP Annuitants.

    But he repeats yet again his misleading assertion that the scheme's savage exclusion of the 10,000 pre—1992 WPAs was the intention of the PO, Ann Abraham despite her writing two letters making clear to Sir John Chadwick that she did not intend their exclusion.

    See Mark Hoban's letter to EMAG.

  • 15/02/2012 - Equitable pensioners Westminster Walk

    Emag protesters outside Parliament

    EMAG members protested outside Parliament — 1st February 2012

    As a grassroots initiative, EMAG activist Derek Lockhart has instigated a monthly protest walk around Parliament to coincide with Prime Minister's Question time.

    On a bitterly cold 1 February, 30 elderly policyholders made a visible impact and lobbied their MPs. Further such protests are planned every month. To take part please contact Derek: westminsterwalk@emag.org.uk

  • 15/02/2012 - APPG (all party group) is now 107 MPs strong and growing

    Has YOUR MP joined yet? Check at: http://www.emag.org.uk/justice_group.php

  • 01/02/2012 - After seven months only 10% of With Profits Annuitants have heard anything about their compensation

    The Coalition Government promised in the Summer of 2010 that compensation would start to be paid out in June 2011. 50,000 with profits annuitants (WPAs) looked forward to receiving a big cheque in the summer of 2011.

    Seven months later, according to the latest figures, only 5,000 (just 10%) of Equitable's WPAs have received any payment and those that have are perplexed both by the low level of calculated compensation and that the compensation that is their due to the year 2009 is to be eked out over five annual payments, until the year 2016 — unless death comes first.

    EMAG has been collating the actual data from our members, in the absence of any help from the Treasury, and we currently have two respected actuaries ‘reverse–engineering’ to establish the Compensation Scheme's methodology to better understand the way the Scheme is being calculated and administered. When that work is completed EMAG will circulate the finding to our members.

    The 10,000 unlucky WPAs who took out their Equitable Life annuities before September 1992 won't receive so much as a letter. Mark Hoban, as recently as 26th January, continues to hide behind the incredible excuse that this was the intention of the Parliamentary Ombudsman, despite her written assurances to the contrary.

    Since the beginning of November, the Treasury has refused all FOI requests, stating there will be a comprehensive written report on the Compensation Scheme's progress ‘in January’ from administrators National Savings & Investments. As of close of play 30th January, this Report has not been published.

    EMAG will continue to fight for inclusion of the pre–1992 WPas, for lump sum payments to the WPAs deemed eligible and for the 945,000 non–annuitants to be paid the remaining 80% of compensation the Coalition has acknowledges is due, when the economy strengthens.

    In June 2010 the new Coalition Government promised that the PO Equitable Life Report's recommendation would be honoured. There would be a Compensation Scheme that would be fair, swift and transparent. 18 months on and the Scheme has proved to be none of those.

  • 01/02/2012 - Anger at ‘derisory’ size of compensation payouts

    EMAG has engaged two actuaries to investigate the apparent disparity between what members believe they have lost and what they are actually getting. Nothwithstanding the huge 78% cut imposed on payments, which is causing universal dismay, members remain suspicious about the Treasury's lack of transparency in explaining how it has arrived at the sums given.

    EMAG has now collated hundreds of compensation letters. In no case is any explanation given on the relative loss figures quoted to each individual — letters simply show the addition of interest where appropriate and then the 77.6% cut. We urge members to write back to the scheme demanding a proper explanation of their ‘relative loss’ calculation.

  • 01/02/2012 - The 104 strong all party MP Equitable Life group demands answers from Treasury

    After receiving an unsatisfactory answer from Treasury Minister Mark Hoban, the leaders of the All Party Group have written again making a powerful case for the inclusion of the pre-1992 WPAs and demanding proper answers to their questions. EMAG suspects that the reason the Treasury have not answered the questions is because they don't have credible answers.

    Read the APPG Executive's letter of 23 December 2011.

    Here's the letter that Mark Hoban recently sent to all MPs on 11 January 2012, updating them on the Scheme, with his weasel words of explanation for delays and exclusions.

    No reply has yet been received from Hoban to the APPG's letter of 23 December 2011.

  • 01/02/2012 - LibDems backbench MPs call for upfront payment of WPAs

    A group of senior LibDems have written to the Treasury questioning the speed of delivery of the current compensation scheme and calling on the Government to accelerate the rate of WPA payments into a shorter time frame with single one–off payments, rather than over five equal annual increments, taking until 2016 to complete.

    Read the MPs letter.