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

Press Releases: 12/07/2003 - EMAG seeks to challenge the Parliamentary Ombudsman's report through a Judicial Review.

12 July '03 - EMAG seeks to challenge the Parliamentary Ombudsman's report through a Judicial Review:

The recent report into the Prudential Regulation of The Equitable Life by the new Parliamentary Ombudsman, Ann Abraham, has been greeted with brickbats and incredulity by leading journalists and many MPs.

EMAG, the leading policyholder action group, claimed today that the report is so flawed that it has decided to explore urgently instigating a judicial review to challenge the PO's conclusions (www.emag.org.uk).

Paul Braithwaite: "The Parliamentary Ombudsman's blanket refusal to entertain compensation or even consider mis-regulation in the 1990s very much suggests that the PO has been knobbled by The Treasury, who are utterly ruthless in their determination to keep the spotlight off mis-regulation during the 1990s. If the PO has indeed been 'got at', it's a deplorable development, eroding the democratic function of 'checks and balances' on government departments."

It is an embarrassment to The Treasury and the PO alike that there are now over 200 MPs from all parties who have, in the last month, signed a Parliamentary Motion calling on the PO to investigate immediately mis-regulation in the 1990s.

Tom Lake, EMAG committee member, said: "The Ombudsman is supposed to consider Policyholder's Reasonable Expectations (PRE) but she didn't look into those for any of the actual complaints made. Extraordinarily, the office of the PO failed to consult with a single one of over 500 policyholders who complained through their MPs and have now been rejected. The PO's report is so preoccupied with applying the artifice of 'process' to exonerate the FSA that it lost sight of the purpose of the regulation. If the FSA isn't held to account over its failure to protect the victims of The Equitable Life scandal then nobody buying a pension in the UK is safe and confidence in pensions will continue to collapse."

Notes to Editors:

EMAG's main complaint against the regulators (the Treasury and the DTI, who were the regulators responsible during the 1990s) is that they totally failed to act on the growing GAR problem until it was much too late (in 1998) and also that they failed to act on the enormous billion pound plus asset deficit that dates all the way back to 1990 and beyond (see Burgess Hodgson Addendum and Report for EMAG, as submitted to Lord Penrose 25th June, 2003 at www.emag.org.uk

Also see Parliamentary Early Day Motion 1337/A1