Labour Resolution on Equitable

Labour Party Conference 2001

Composite 2
This conference welcomes the recent announcement by the Government to instruct Lord Penrose to conduct an independent inquiry into the situation facing Equitable Life and its with-profits policyholders.  Conference further welcomes the fact that the government has recognised the plight faced by 900,000 policy holders who have seen their fund values, and prospective pensions, reduced significantly as a result of decisions taken by Equitable Life.
Conference recognises that the Government will put the inquiry on a statutory basis in a situation where Lord Penrose believes a non-statutory inquiry to be insufficient.
Conference also calls on the Government to instruct the inquiry to examine the regulatory framework of the industry.  Whilst with-profits policies have served to smooth returns to investors over time, the fundamental trust in management and regulators has been broken by the revelations during the Equitable Life affair of the ability of the financial industry to act in its own, rather than policy holders' interests.
Conference further calls on the Government to not only examine in the inquiry regulations which will protect individuals from unilateral action by financial services providers but also to ensure that the level and type of information provided to potential customers is of a sufficient standard to ensure that they enter into contract fully aware of the potential pitfalls.
Finally, conference believes that the Insurance industry should not wash its hands of Equitable Life.
Those financially disadvantaged by the affair and those suffering through the actions of Equitable Life are precisely those who succesive Governments have encouraged to make adequate provision for their retirement.  For any current initiatives on private or occupational pension provion to be successful, the Government must recognise the right to protection in return for prudence.
Moved:            AEEU
Seconder:      Worsley CLP