Last Updated: Saturday, April 21, 2001 12:07 AM

 Listed below are statements from some of the potential candidates who would like to stand at the AGM on 23 May 2001.

Rodney Allen

"The Lord's judgement last summer destroyed our Society commercially and deeply divided its membership. If elected, I shall strive to create an environment where members overall can happily remain in our with-profits fund. This requires an acceptable compromise between the GAR and non-GAR policyholders. The strongly held belief that the Court failed to consider the equity interests of non-GAR policyholders cannot be ignored. This issue is now being reviewed. Whether or not legal action is possible, the proposed capping scheme of a twenty percent uplift in GAR- policyholders' asset shares may need adjustment, if endless complaints from other investors are to be avoided. There is growing awareness that GAR-policyholders are gaining twice over from the GAR clause in their contracts and the beneficial effect of new non-GAR policyholders on declared bonuses. GAR-policyholder expectations resulting from the Lords' decision may have become unrealistically high in the light of future claims by the majority of members against the Society for not ring-fencing GAR policies before non-GAR policies were sold from mid-1988 onwards, or for not advising the potential cost of providing unfunded guaranteed annuities. Naturally, a compromise will not be achieved easily, but determination to uphold what is just will prevail.


I hold a with-profits annuity and a pension draw-down fund, both acquired in 1996 when I was 65. Failure to obtain an acceptable compromise will bear particularly severely on annuitants. After obtaining a degree in PPE at Oxford, I spent 20 years in the City where I became a partner in a firm of stockbrokers and member of the London Stock Exchange. Subsequently, I moved into international trade and later into providing aid supported technical assistance to developing country exporters. I finished as an Export Promoter with the DTI. Since retirement, I have had a book published on the French Revolution."


"Vote tactically.


I ask you to give ordinary lay members a real voice: reject Vanni Treves's fait accompli "slate" and vote for your own choice of individuals.


I'm a 54-year old energetic entrepreneur with a children's educational business. I care very deeply about the Equitable - prospectively my main pension provider. With my spouse, we have both GAR and non-GAR policies.


Equitable is NOT a thrusting PLC. We're a struggling closed fund with an inadequate pot to make things fair for the non-GARs and to honour GAR contracts. We've been brought to this by a Board that ignored members. We're suffering on-going anxiety and face the abyss of financial meltdown because of self-interested directors, too many lawyers and incompetent actuaries.


What's proposed is that you replace one autocratic regime with another, both supposedly comprised of "top drawer" professionals. Herein lies risk: we would be wise to balance some of Treves's handpicked elite with knowledgeable and dedicated ordinary members.


I'm not a City-type but I do know about this Society. Probably more than any other of the candidates. I've worked tirelessly and for months as deputy chairman of EMAG - the only action group that's member-funded and non-partisan - to obtain information and influence on behalf of ALL policyholder classes (see: "www.emag.org.uk").


I've attended parliamentary debates, met with management and recently I succeeded in bringing all four action groups together with Equitable to open a dialogue on a compromise deal initiative. So, I'm a team player with an understanding of all points of view.


I believe that harmony will only come from within and not from experts parachuted in. Lay members are also more likely to ensure that the quest for compensation, resulting from the legal audit the action groups fought so hard for, is rigorously pursued.


RON BULLEN (Chairman of EPHAG)

"Ronald Bullen C.Eng.M.I.Mech.E. A Chartered Engineer, aged 61, my business career was spent entirely in manufacturing industry. Prior to retirement in Sept. 1998 I spent most of the previous decade as a General Manager in the paper industry, with a large multi-national company.


My experience in industry taught me not only the fundamentals of business management, but also the value of rational and considered judgements based on the evaluation of known data and facts. We have seen at Equitable, over the last few years, the consequences which can face a company or business when facts are ignored or considered to be of no consequence.


Since September 2000 I have been Chairman of the Equitable Policy Holders' Action Group, a pressure group formed to act on behalf of all those members of the Society whose interests have been damaged as a result of the House of Lords ruling. During this period, I have gained some knowledge of the Life Assurance industry, along with considerable understanding of the fears and concerns of a substantial cross-section of my fellow members of the Society. I believe this understanding will assist in the difficult task of finding a resolution of the problems now facing the Society.


If elected to the Board, my aim will be to strive for a compromise which satisfies, as far as possible, the conflicting interests of the various policy holders. I will also use my best endeavours to improve transparency in the Society's affairs, for the benefit of members."


Committee member of EPHAG (and action group co-ordinator on pursuit of the independent legal audit and quest for possible compensation).


"B.Sc (Agric), followed by MAFF Post Graduate Research Scholarship. Between 1956 and 1971 farmed in North Wales and Warwickshire and consuled part-time in agriculture.


1970 - 1974 Inns of Court Law School and called to the bar by Inner Temple, with pupillage at Sir Joseph Malony QC then A.B. Hollis QC's Chambers.


Post 1974 to date: called to the Bar ad edeundum by Gray's Inn and still practicing, albeit at a reduced level whilst gradually retiring.


I am a Director and majority shareholder in Cergrove Ltd., a small property company which carries on business in Reading.


I am a committee Member of EPHAG with which approximately 60,000 Equitable Policy Holders have registered. I have 3 Equitable, annuities non-GAR. If elected to the Board, I see my contribution as being that of a man that prizes integrity above all, who is able to bring experience both legal and small business, of someone who is a self-made man. Within the constraints of corporate governance I will seek to safeguard the interest of all Policyholders but especially the non-GARs."

Alex Henney (EMAG committee member):

"I studied engineering at the Universities of Bristol (first class honours) and Virginia (Fulbright Scholar) and business administration at the LSE. I have had a varied career in industry, with McKinsey and Company, in the civil service, on the board of London Electricity, and subsequently advising on the restructuring of electricity markets and companies in Britain, North America and continental Europe. I am a private investor with investments in shares, bonds, a hedge fund and several start-up companies, and am writing a book "Investing for Smart Dummies".


I have GAR and (more valuable) non-GAR policies, and unit linked policies transferred to Halifax. Last year I became concerned about the performance of some of the Equitable's funds. At the AGM I called for "performance plus accountability", and realised that in this and in other matters there had been a serious failure of mutuality in the Equitable which seemed to be run like a cosy City club. Following the HOL decision I joined (and later became a Committee member of) the Equitable Members' Action Group, which aims to act for all classes of member and stresses the need for Equitable to provide members with full information about the Society.


If elected, in addition to trying to help arrive at a compromise deal, I would take a particular interest in ensuring that members are provided with full information. I would press for 1) a White Paper explaining how the Society got into the mess and what the issues are that have to be addressed; 2) full and objective reporting of the with-profits fund, and of members' unit linked funds transferred to the Halifax and 3) the development of a computer system to help members assess their interests in a compromise deal. In addition I would seek a review of how to maximise returns from the Society's fund subject to meeting liabilities and reserve acquirements."

David Stonebanks

I offer myself as a candidate for Equitable Life's board of directors at the forthcoming AGM.


I believe that the justice of the HoL ruling that benefits THAT THEY HAVE PAID FOR be taken away from the non-GARs and given to GARs WHO PAID NO EXTRA is questionable.


An enforceable contract is one where each side must promise to give or do something for the other. The GARs paid NO EXTRA for their extra benefits, and the non-GARs have received NO BENEFIT in return. I believe that the GARs do not have a a legally binding contract with anyone who is able to pay for their enhanced pensions.


I believe that the non-GARs have NO obligation to pay. The Society's Memorandum clause F allows the directors "to give to any class of its policyholders . . any special right or interest in any fund . . ", but Article 57 prevents the directors from doing this " without the sanction of a Special Resolution of the Society." There has been no Special Resolution.

The GARs took out their policies under those rules, and this should prevent the GARs only taking from the with-profits fund.
EL failed to create a non-GAR fund when the GAR term was withdrawn, and compounded that error by failing its regulatory obligations under PIA rules to warn potential non-GARs of the GAR liability. How many would have signed up if they had known?


The non-GARs are entitled to compensation for the loss that they have suffered due to the GAR liability.

Stuart Bayliss proposes that about 5% be taken from the whole with-profits fund and given to the GARs to provide their uplift.


I propose that the non-GARs follow that good example. The non-GARs' funds are about three times those of the GARs, so more will need to be taken from the whole fund to provide compensation for the non-GARs. I propose that 83% of the whole fund be allocated to policyholders in proportion to their asset shares. The remaining 17% will be shared to provide uplift for the GARs giving them 100% of their asset shares, and compensation for the non-GARs, giving them 100% of their asset shares. Everyone gets what they have paid for. No one loses. No one wins. My detailed proposals are on www.nongar.co.uk

I have sent my proposals to Mr Treves and to the FSA, so far without response. I have posted the proposals on a number of internet discussion forums, and so far, no one has challenged them.


I have a non-GAR FSAVC with EL, taken out in March 88, just before my wife's GAR pension plan that started in April 88.


I am 61 years old, and retired from teaching. I have a Diploma in Management Studies. I was a Member of the British Institute of Management, a Member of the Institute of Electrical Engineers, and a Chartered Engineer. I no longer pay fees to these professional bodies. I am a director of Select Residential plc.