“A decade of regulatory failure” - the damning verdict of the Parliamentary Ombudsman

In July 2008, after four years of Government orchestrated delays, MPs and the press finally got to read the Parliamentary Ombudsman's report into Equitable Life.

In her report the Ombudsman made ten determinations of maladministration on the part of the former Department of Trade and Industry, the Government Actuary’s Department, and the Financial Services Authority, in relation to their regulation of Equitable in the period before 1 December 2001.

Parliamentary Ombudsman

In addition to upholding several specific complaints, the Ombudsman upheld a general complaint about the period before Equitable closed to new business on 8 December 2000, that: … the public bodies responsible for the prudential regulation of insurance companies… and the Government Actuary’s Department failed for considerably longer than a decade properly to exercise their regulatory functions in respect of Equitable Life.

Finding that injustice resulted from maladministration, the Ombudsman has recommended that a compensation scheme should be established to assess the individual cases of Equitable’s current and former policyholders, with a view to paying compensation to remedy any financial losses which would not have been suffered had those people invested elsewhere than with Equitable.

EMAG welcomed the publication of the report, saying that it was a “devastating indictment of the actions of the UK regulators over an entire decade.”

Paul Braithwaite of EMAG 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.”

EMAG is campaigning for Parliament to pay the remaining balance of compensation due to victims of this scandal.

You can download the report at: Government website

And then MEET YOUR MP!