EQUITABLE LIFE MEMBERS
Last Updated: Tuesday, May 10, 2005 03:59 PM
|Letter from Guernsey Financial Services Commission to Margaret Felgate - 17 April 2003|
|Letter from Margaret Felgate to the GFSC - 13 April 2003|
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Reply from FOS 14 February 2003 (comments by Margaret Felgate)
have today received the latest NON update on the Ombudsman's decision
concerning jurisdiction of the Internationals mis-selling claims.
Letter from Margaret Felgate to the FOS 31 January 2003
Dear Mr Todd
I have viewed today's update on the FOS website with the utmost disappointment. It is shameful that I have personally waited 18 months for a decision on my individual mis-selling claim. To be forced to endure yet a further 2 months wait for yet ANOTHER update is an insult to taxpayers in the UK who FUND the FOS with an annual budget of GBP 27.2 million
Unfortunately today's update does not include whether or not the the Ombudsman has ULTIMATELY decided if he has jurisdiction or not on w.p. policies sold by ELAS to approximately 33,500 International Policyholders without advising them of the liability they would have to meet to another class of policyholder, namely the GAR's.
You will remember that you informed me on 02 December 2002 that Equitable had challenged the Ombudsman's decision that he DOES have jurisdiction and that consequnetly the Ombudsman was further deciding his position on jurisdiction.
Please inform me of the Ombudsman's latest decision (WHICH IS NOT INCLUDED IN YOUR UPDATE) on jurisdiction within the next seven days.
Margaret R Felgate
For ELAS International Policyholders
17 September Financial Ombudsman states that he can also hear International policyholders claims. Click here for press release
have received several enquiries from Equitable Guernsey Policyholders
regarding the investigations that are being carried out into the Equitable
affair and the potential for redress or assistance being available to
Guernsey Branch Policyholders who have been victims of the recent
Equitable difficulties. The
Commission is continuing to correspond with the relevant bodies in order
to ascertain the extent to which redress or assistance that would be
available to UK policyholders would also be available to Guernsey Branch
Policyholders. As far as we
are aware none of the relevant bodies has formed a final view on this
summarise below the ongoing enquiries and also the potential sources of
redress and assistance for Equitable policyholders advised to the
Commission by our lawyers Norton Rose.
1. Penrose Enquiry
is an independent enquiry into the situation that arose at Equitable, led
by Lord Penrose, a senior Scottish Judge.
The establishment of the enquiry and its terms of reference were
announced by Ruth Kelly MP, the Economic Secretary to the Treasury, on 31
August 2001. The enquiry will
review the background to the Equitable situation going back at least 40
years when GAR policies were first sold.
It will cover all aspects of the Equitable background including the
roles of the regulators, the professional advisers and the management.
The terms of reference of the enquiry are “to enquire into the circumstances leading to the current situation of the Equitable Life Assurance Society by taking account of relevant life market background; to identify any lessons to be learnt by the conduct, administration and regulation of life assurance business; and to give a report thereon to Treasury Ministers”.
The Report is likely to include recommendations as to how the situation might be avoided in the future and it is also possible that it may address the position of Guernsey Branch policyholders.
The date when this Enquiry will be finalised is not yet known. It had originally been intended that it would be the end of this year but it is not clear whether or not this target will be met.
2. Parliamentary Ombudsman Enquiries
The Parliamentary Ombudsman is investigating complaints about the way the FSA exercised prudential regulation in relation to the Equitable between 1 January 1999 and 8 December 2000. We understand that the Parliamentary Ombudsman is investigating general issues before dealing with individual complaints. If at the end of his investigations the Ombudsman found maladministration on the part of the FSA leading to injustice to individuals, he would most likely invite the Government to propose a scheme for redress.
The Commission has been in correspondence with the Parliamentary Ombudsman with a view to establishing whether or not he considers that Guernsey Branch Policyholders fall within his jurisdiction and whether any proposed redress scheme would extend to such non-UK policyholders. He has not yet reached a final view on this issue.
3. Financial Ombudsman Service (“FOS”)
We have previously published the advice obtained from Norton Rose as to whether or not Guernsey branch policyholders’ mis-selling complaints fall within the jurisdiction of the Financial Ombudsman Service and our advisers were of the view that it is arguable that they do (as explained in their report dated 23 November 2001 which is available on the Commission’s website). The Commission has been in contact with the Financial Ombudsman Service who have not yet formed a final view on this issue. Their view is expected to be finalised shortly.
4. Financial Services Compensation Scheme (“FSCS”)
from 1 December 2001 protection will be available to all “protected
contracts of insurance” under the FSCS in the event of the Equitable
becoming insolvent. The FSCS
replaced the regime introduced by the Policyholders Protection Act 1975.
However, the transitional provisions of the FSCS provide that
insurance policies issued before 1 December 2001 are protected contracts
of insurance under the FSCS if they are UK policies at the beginning of
the liquidation for the purposes of the Policyholder’s Protection Act
1975 (the “PPA”).
The effect of these transitional provisions is that if protection would have been available to a policyholder under the PPA it will be also be available under the FSCS.
The Commission obtained the opinion of Norton Rose on the question of whether or not protection would have been available to Guernsey Branch policyholders in the event of the insolvency of the Equitable under the Policyholders Protection Act and their conclusions are set out in their above mentioned report dated 23 November 2001. Their conclusion was that it is strongly arguable that some if not all of the Guernsey branch policyholders would have been entitled to protection under the PPA.
Commission has been in correspondence with the FSA on this subject who
have indicated that the FSCS have not yet confirmed whether or not
Guernsey branch policyholders will receive compensation under the FSCS in
the event of the Equitable becoming insolvent.
Any enquiries to Steve Butterworth, Director of Insurance
Tel: (44 1481) 712801
Fax: (44 1481) 712010
13 August 2002
REPORT FROM MARGARET FELGATE REGARDING COMPENSATION 9 August 2002
several months of negotiations with ELAS/Lovells, the Internationals
lawyers Class Law are very pleased to announce the "Standstill
Agreement" whereby those International policyholders who exited the
WP Fund prior to the compromise agreement and joined in the legal fund
have succeeded in agreeing a process of compensation which MAY not involve
the courts and heavy legal fees for both policyholders and ELAS.
REPORT FROM MARGARET FELGATE REGARDING
THE COMPROMISE VOTE
The vote on ELAS compromise scheme which
took place on 11 January 2002 was in favour by 97.3% GAR and 99% non-Gar.
Many members of Equitable Life who have International policies, who live outside the United Kingdom, have said that they have received very little information and support from Equitable, as the Society has been communicating with its members through the press, which is not necessarily readily available to those not resident in UK.
Margaret Felgate has formed a group of International policyholders, so please contact her. email@example.com.
To contact ELAS at Aylesbury do not use the 0870 number phone 44 (0) 1296 393100 and ask for Client Servicing or fax them on +44 1296 386181
Scope of Protection to Guernsey Branch Policyholders under UK Legislation (issued by Norton Rose 11 October 2001)
16 August 2001
THE EQUITABLE LIFE ASSURANCE SOCIETY – GUERNSEY BRANCH
The Commission has appointed the London Law Firm, Norton Rose, to examine a number of concerns relating to the Guernsey branch operation of Equitable Life Assurance Society; in particular Norton Rose has been asked to consider the position of international policyholders both in connection with the “ring-fencing” issue and the potential application of the Policyholders Protection Act.
is expected that it will take some weeks before their findings are made
available to the Commission but as soon as we have any information we will
publish it on our website.
Director of Insurance
Tel: (44 1481) 712801
Fax: (44 1481) 712010
See bottom of this page for letter from Margaret Felgate to GFSC Director Peter Neville and also Peter Neville's reply 23 August.
Letter from an International member in New Zealand to GFSC in response to their press release. With their replies. Click here.
Click here to access two letters written by Margaret Felgate to Vannie Treves and Lovell's Equitable's lawyers, pointing out that members with International Policies should be considered as a separate group when it comes to voting for the compromise agreement.
Policy Protection Scheme re: International Policy Holders
From Financial Services Authority: 5 January 2001
You might find it reassuring to know that the Equitable remains solvent, existing policies are still valid and that it continues to be able to meet its contractual obligations to its policyholders. However, should the need arise, there is a scheme designed to arrange compensation. The immediate objective of the scheme would be to arrange for your contract to be transferred to another provider to ensure continuity of cover, or pay-out, as the case may be . If that were not possible, the scheme provides for compensation to be paid, generally of 90% of the guaranteed amount.
The geographical scope of the Policy Holders Protection arrangements is set out in Section 4 of the Policyholders Protection Act 1975. That section is amended by Section 2 of the Policy Holders' Protection Act 1997, so as to extend the arrangements to allow insurers from the EEA member states and the crown dependencies (Channel Islands and the Isle of Man) to participate in the scheme. However the relevant amendment has not yet been brought into force.
16 July announcement - effect on different policies
policies (except Dubai - see below)
SPECIAL NOTE: The Warren report (14 May) indicates that policy holders who have non-UK policies are 'ring fenced' against the impact of the GAR.
The Guernsey Financial Services Commission are responsible for International policies, but members say that they have not had much support from them so far.