Equitable Life

Trapped Annuitants

supporting the With-Profit annuitants of Equitable Life


 Follow Up To The Parliamentary Ombudsman’s Report 

Dear Member

Follow Up To The Parliamentary Ombudsman’s Report                                     Sept 25th 2009


It has been a while since I wrote to you and I feel that it is time to bring you up to date with ELTA’s activities in recent months.


You will recall that in July 2008 the Parliamentary Ombudsman, Anne Abraham, published a report recommending that Equitable Life (ELAS) policyholders should receive compensation for their losses as a result of maladministration by the government. The government, whilst not accepting all her recommendations, nonetheless invited a distinguished high court judge, Sir John Chadwick, to establish criteria for an ex-gratia payment scheme. The scheme would also include a methodology for determining who might qualify and for computing any payments, while simultaneously recognising public purse constraints.


By inviting Sir John to make recommendations for a compensation scheme, it would appear that the government has accepted in principle that it will make payments to ELAS policyholders and that now it is trying to work out the details. However, we believe that it is also clear that whatever scheme of compensation is finally established, it is highly unlikely that all policyholders will receive payments and, of those that do, losses will probably not be compensated in their entirety.


We took the decision to engage actively with Sir John since, in principle at least, his advice will determine whether or not some, or possibly all, the WPAs qualify for compensation, and, if they do, how much those qualifying will receive. We felt therefore that it was vital that he understood the issues and the unique way in which the ELAS debacle has affected all of us as WPAs in such a devastating way.


Sir John began his work in January 2009, since when I, and the advisory committee at ELTA, as well as our legal advisors, Clarke Willmott, have monitored the process and we have been active in following up on behalf of the WPAs. Sir John produced his initial “Proposals” in June, followed by his “Interim Report” in August, inviting responses to both documents from interested parties.


ELTA responded to the “Proposals” on behalf of the WPAs with two written submissions and, in addition, met Sir John and his team at his London chambers on July 8th. ELTA’s first submission and my meeting (no doubt together with others) clearly appear to have had some impact, since there were important changes to his approach in his subsequent “Interim” report


The “Interim report”, contains much that is positive for the WPAs but notwithstanding, there remain some points of concern and, consequently, I have prepared a third written submission.


We wanted to provide you with the opportunity to see this

further written submission and comment before it is finalised.


Therefore, I am asking you to read it and let me have your comments as quickly as possible, preferably by e-mail, or, if that is not possible, by letter or telephone, before Sunday, 4th October. We will then revise the submission in the light of your comments and send the final version to Sir John by close of business on Friday, 9th October. As always, I am here to be contacted by you.


You can review the document on the ELTA website (see below for details) along with the two earlier submissions. May I thank you in advance for taking time to read the submission. I look forward to hearing from you. If you wish me to remove your details then please do not hesitate to contact me.


Yours sincerely



Peter Scawen


Access to the ELTA web site:           http://www.elta.org.uk/


Click on                                    Sir John Chadwick

Click on:                                   The Third (DRAFT) written submission from ELTA to Sir John Chadwick

If you do NOT have access to the internet at home, may I suggest you ask a family member for help, or alternatively go to your local library where you will be able to get access and help if needed.