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: 17/07/2008 - EMAG welcomes the PO Report

Press statement from EMAG 17 July 2008

“Regulators fully aware that Equitable was insolvent” – EMAG

Action group EMAG today welcomed the publication of the Parliamentary Ombudsman’s report, saying that it was a “devastating indictment of the actions of the UK regulators over an entire decade.”

Paul Braithwaite of EMAG (Equitable Members Action Group) said: "The UK regulators were fully aware for a decade that Equitable Life was effectively insolvent, yet they allowed the company to suck in another £20 billion in pension contributions from more than a million new investors.”

The Parliamentary Ombudsman makes no estimate of the losses incurred or the cost to the public purse. EMAG has addressed both these issues in its submission to the PO, which is reproduced in full in the Report. This estimates losses incurred by policyholders at £4.65bn.

EMAG is calling on Parliament to compensate without delay those policyholders who have suffered. “Thousands of pensioners have died waiting for justice,” said Braithwaite. “It’s time the Government stopped hiding behind one enquiry after another and did the moral thing to bring this sorry saga to a close.”

The group expects the Government to resist calls for compensation and is digging in for a long fight. “While we hope that Parliament will now honour the Parliamentary Ombudsman’s unequivocal recommendation to set up a fund for compensation, we stand prepared to take the Government to Judicial Review - if that’s what it takes.”

During the summer recess EMAG will be organising its members to write to MPs and candidates in marginal constituencies as well as undertaking an extensive lobbying campaign. It has also set up a network of 20 regional groups to coordinate campaigning in those areas. Since it launched last week, more than 700 people have joined the regional campaign at www.emagregional.org.uk

“We want to ensure that the Equitable scandal becomes an embarrassing election issue” said Braithwaite. “If we can hit them where it hurts in the marginals, perhaps at last the Government will start listening to the victims.”