What is a Late Joiner?

  • A Late Joiner is a person who bought a policy from Equitable after 9 September 1998 – the date that the Society had explicit legal advice that it could lose the GAR case and that the real cost was estimated at £1.5 billion.  The Society concealed these facts from its customers. It is also likely that the Society knew it was in trouble from 1993 or earlier and concealed this information from policyholders. For this reason it has been keen to “buy off” (for a pittance) any potential claims from people who were sold their policies during this period.

Can I make a claim?

  • Anybody who has not already made a claim needs to consider the following:


  • If you still have the policy with Equitable you are barred from making a “GAR related complaint” because you stayed in for the Compromise.


  • If you are a WP annuitant, you have not been allowed to leave and the same therefore applies.


  • If it is more than 6 years since you were sold your policy or more than 3 years since you first realised that you had a basis to make a claim - arguably, the last date feasible being three years from the draconian cuts to policy values on 16 July 2001, you are “timed-out” for any civil court action based on negligence.


  • If it is more than 3 years since you first knew that you had a basis to complain, then you are probably now “timed out” for making a complaint to the FOS (Financial Ombudsman Service) unless your complaint relates to another (more recent) mis-selling issue.


  • If you bought your policy LESS than 6 years ago, and your losses are MORE than £50,000 it might be worth considering legal action on a “no win, no fee” basis.  Email legal@elcag.org.uk for more information.


  • If the same applies and your losses are LESS than £5,000 it might be worth considering the small claims court at a cost of only £125.  Email smallclaims@elcag.org.uk for more information.


  • If your policy was “unit-linked” you have not suffered a cut to your policy except for stock market falls and have no basis for a complaint connected with the devaluation of “With Profits” policies. If you still have a “unit-linked” policy with Equitable and can move without penalty, you might want to consider moving it to a place of greater safety.


  • If your policy was pre-1998 and you wish to complain to the FOS on the basis of information revealed in the Penrose report - “Penrose-related complaints”, the FOS has just announced that it will not even investigate any such complaints!


So, if I am ambushed at every turn, what should I do?

  • Pray that the Parliamentary Ombudsman recommends Government compensation.


  • Write to your MEP in support of EMAG’s EU petition number 29/2005 to the European Parliament.


  • Join EMAG and send them some money to support their work


  • Read the following web sites:

www.elcag.org.uk (Late Joiners)


www.emag.org.uk (Equitable Members Action Group)


www.elta.org.uk (Trapped Annuitants)


www.equitablelifemembers.org.uk (Equitable Life Members Support Group)


  • Join together with others to mount a group litigation for Fraudulent Misrepresentation.  There is ample evidence that this took place.  More may come out if the case against Ernst & Young goes ahead on April 11th. Fraud is not subject to the 6-year time limit on claims.


  • If you are a WP annuitant, read the ELTA website and consider a claim on the basis that the product was unsuitable for your needs.  However, you may now be time-barred unless you were sold the policy less than 6 years ago.


Should I have received an offer from Equitable anyway?

  • Maybe.  The offers are somewhat derisory, and they are designed to “pick off” any potential claimants who then sign away all rights to make a claim in the future.  It is believed that 16,000 of these offers were sent out and that about 5,000 were accepted. If you make a complaint to Equitable you might well receive such an offer just to tick you off the list.  Be careful – you could be giving up future legal rights for a pittance.


I heard that some people received proper compensation

  • Action group ELJAG achieved settlement for its members more than eighteen months ago and then disbanded. Several people have launched small claims in the County Court and some have threatened action in the High Court. ln all known cases they have been settled in full without the case even being heard in return for signing an onerous “confidentiality” agreement.