Meeting with Equitable Life holders


I had another meeting with Equitable Life policy holders in Wokingham this morning. I reminded them that I was one of the MPs who had successfully called on the Conservative party to offer some compensation to EL savers, in recognition of the regulatory errors made. Labour in office spent many years considering the issues without offering any money.

The incoming government set up a compensation scheme as promised. They offered up to £15oo million It does not offer full compensation to all policyholders, and we never promised full compensation. The government did decide to give better  compensation to with profit annuity holders, who were locked in and who suffered most therefore from the regulatory as well as the  investment mistakes.

I understand the worries of some who suffered in this crisis that they are heavily out of pocket from what has happened. I am happy to take up any individual case where someone thinks the compensation scheme has not paid out the correct amount to them under the terms of the scheme. I am afraid it is most unlikely that any party will offer a new and enhanced scheme in the run up to the 2015 election. I understand the unhappiness of people who saw their savings badly damaged by the events at EL, but no government can stand behind all savings and protect everyone against all  loss.

For pensioners who were going  to rely  on their EL savings who now find themselves in  financial difficulties there are a range of pensioner payments and benefits from the state to ensure they can meet their essential bills. There is the state retirement pension itself, Pensioner Credit,  housing benefit, Council tax assistance,  travel concessions, free tv licence, and assistance with heating bills in cold weather. Most  individual pensioners will be eligible for some or all of these depending on circumstances. If my office can help we are willing to do so.

The national representatives of Equitable Life AG who attended argued that Equitable Life was insolvent in 2000 when they think the Labour government should have wound it up and paid full compensation. They did not do so and Equitable Life has continued to operate without going into insolvency. Current Treasury Ministers hold  the same government view that Equitable Life “did not become insolvent and continues to operate” (Econ Sec to Treasury).

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  1. Margaret Brandreth-J
    Posted November 3, 2014 at 11:17 pm | Permalink

    Good luck to all of those .I wish we could guard against the twists and turns of all savings .Some savings are now substantially in negative equity.

  2. alan jutson,
    Posted November 5, 2014 at 8:32 am | Permalink

    Sadly was not aware of this meeting, otherwise I would have attended.

    Yes a shame Mr Brown was not honest at the time.

    To wait over 10 years for some very minor compensation was really just an insult to those who were in some small way trying to be self sufficient.

    It was also a shame that the compensation calculation was not transparent, and the workings or formula has never been published.
    Thus many policy holders still feel somewhat cheated, as policy holders appear to have received differing amounts, which seem to bear no relationship to either the fund value, contributions made, or investments held.

    You really would have though that after the fiasco of such a wait, calculation would have been open, honest, and simple.

    But then I suppose we are talking financial services and Government, both tend to do things in the most inefficient and complicated manner possible most of the time.

  • About John Redwood

    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, and graduated from Magdalen College Oxford. He is a Distinguished fellow of All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has set up an investment management business, was both executive and non executive chairman of a quoted industrial PLC, and chaired a manufacturing company with factories in Birmingham, Chicago, India and China. He is the MP for Wokingham, first elected in 1987.

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