Guernsey Branch Status



Letter from Margaret Felgate to the GFSC 13 April 2003

P.J. Neville
Director General
Guernsey Financial Services Commission

13 April 2003

Dear Mr Neville,

I am no longer prepared to waste time and further tax the patience of ELAS International policyholders by exchanging non productive emails with Mr Butterworth's secretary.

Not only has GFSC website not been updated with regard to ELAS since 17 September 2002 but for  six months has contained INCORRECT and MISLEADING information for Equitable policyholders who access it.

As you well know, the FOS Ombudsman publicly announced in December 2002, that in response to an appeal from ELAS concerning its offices in Guernsey and Dubai, he is RECONSIDERING jurisdiction of  ELAS international policies. However, your website until today,  still informs policyholders that the FOS DOES have jurisdiction. It follows that policyholders, relying on Commission statements,  are utterly confused when they send a complaint to the FOS who promptly informs them he is still CONSIDERING jurisdiction since ELAS's appeal last autumn.

Your website stated on 13 August 2002 that you were in touch with the Parliamentary Ombudsman to ascertain whether HIS enquiry would cover jurisdiction of Guernsey policies.  Either you have not bothered to follow up with the PO or have neglected to update your website since August 2002 to tell the many anxious policyholders the PO's decision.

In spite of what Mr Butterworth writes below, many policyholders have written to me complaining about the Commission's lack of assistance. They point out that the GFSC website states it is the Regulatory Body for the Finance Sector of the Bailiwick of Guernsey with a primary objective to Regulate the Finance Sector to International Standards and to Protect Depositors, Investors and Policyholders. These same policyholders who have lost millions of pounds through the lack of regulation of Equitable by the FSA and GFSC are utterly amazed when they receive replies from your offices directing them to ME for help and advice. While I am no longer a committee member of EMAG  I continue to head a group (in excess of 400) ex ELAS International policyholders who are extremely angry with the lack of visible support and help from GFSC especially with regard to the delay in obtaining FOS and PO decisions on jurisdiction. Exactly what pressure is GFSC, rather than Norton Rose, bringing to bear on these organisations?

Over the past two years financially affected policyholders have come to understand that the Commission, established to regulate Guernsey financial products, has actually passed the entire Equitable problem over to their lawyers, Norton Rose,  to avoid taking any CONSTRUCTIVE action or DIRECT responsibility.

The commissioning of  the Norton Rose report, published in November 2001 (which left a number of extremely important questions unanswered) seems to be as far as the Commission is prepared to go with regard to Equitable.

Policyholders find they have been left without any tangible support from the very organisation funded by the financial services companies GFSC is directed to regulate. Neither GFSC or the FSA wants to own the Equitable problem so we are left to assume that the Bailiwick of Guernsey is not under any regulatory JURISDICTION. This is a very worrying state of affairs which needs to be brought to the attention of all investors and more importantly, vulnerable POTENTIAL investors in Guernsey financial products.

Investors who may feel comforted by your website pronouncements need to now that Guernsey Financial Services Commission failed to provide ANY protection whatsoever to approximately 12,500 of the approximately 35,500 international Equitable policyholders.

Policyholders feel it is high time you personally involve yourself to rectify the deficient service presently provided by the Insurance department of Guernsey Financial Services Commission with regard to Equitable Life Guernsey policyholders.  We look to the Commission to URGENTLY act to obtain crucial decisions concerning jurisdiction from FOS and the PO with regard to Guernsey policies.

Finally, we find that GFSC website does not inform the public which body it reports to.  I would be grateful to receive this information in order to copy the appropriate office with ELAS Guernsey policyholders complaints about the inaction of the Commission since last summer.

Yours  sincerely,
Margaret R Felgate
for ex ELAS International Policyholders