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: 17/07/2003 - Press Release: EMAG at FSA's annual meeting

17 July '03 - Press Release: EMAG at FSA's annual meeting

"British Pensions Regulators Wash Whiter - and they're Worthless (as demonstrated by the Ombudsman's Equitable Life report)"

Whilst EMAG recognises that the FSA's responsibilities are broad, pensions are at the very centre and, unfortunately, the Equitable Life still remains an ugly, festering wound. The sooner the Government recognises that sweeping it under the carpet is not working and owns up to the fact that it was regulators in the 1990s, not stock markets, that failed a million policyholders, then the sooner that confidence - currently in freefall - can begin to be rebuilt. The FSA may have been let off for its 'light touch' supervision by the Ombudsman but EMAG is bent on challenging that report, which it regards as a transparent white-wash.

Six members of EMAG's committee are today attending the FSA's Annual General Meeting to ask demanding questions as a result of the treatment of Equitable's policyholders. For the full text of the questions asked by EMAG please click here.

Alex Henney: "A similar crisis recently in Australia has been addressed swiftly and honestly. Remedial action is underway in a matter of months, not years. But the British Establishment seemingly always chooses a cover-up. That the FSA is responsible for preserving industry confidence and orderly markets is in diametric conflict with its responsibility for investor protection, hence policyholders' interests have consistently been sacrificed. The FSA has treated us with scant regard and should be stripped of its policyholder protection remit."

Paul Braithwaite suggests that the FSA is now, effectively, a shadow-director running the Equitable Life: " Equitable has 900 million in provisions and yet, with the FSA's complicit agreement, almost none of the various rectification schemes are being progressed - presumably to preserve cash and to minimise payouts. The FSA has permitted Equitable to freeze unilaterally the GAR rectification scheme required by the House of Lords. Is this even legal? It certainly defies the instruction of the highest court in the land."

Leslie Seymour, who flew in from Brussels to attend today's meeting, takes the FSA to task for its total lack of accountability:" The UK situation is a travesty of the European insurance directives. Far from creating the necessary confidence in European insurance, it clearly identifies that UK member state's insurance regulation avoids accountability via the courts and other judicial bodies. Please, explain EXACTLY who the FSA IS accountable to and what steps are in hand to harmonise the regulatory framework within the EC to restore the disastrous loss of confidence in the insurance sector?""

Editor's notes:

EMAG announced last week that it will seek leave of the court to challenge with a Judicial Review the July 1st Parliamentary Ombudsman's report that exonerated the FSA, to the amazement of many MPs and policyholders.

215 MPs have now signed a Parliamentary Early Day Motion calling on the Parliamentary Ombudsman to investigate immediately mis-regulation of Equitable Life in the 1990s, but they have been ignored by Ann Abraham who reported that she will not undertake this investigation - nor will she contemplate compensation in any circumstances.