Press Release - ELJAG 21 March 2002

Last Updated: Thursday, March 21, 2002 05:51 PM

A group of Equitable Life policyholders is calling on the company's ex- salesmen to 'blow the whistle' and reveal the scale of the deception it believes was perpetrated between 1998 and 2000.

Equitable Life Late Joiners Action Group (ELJAG) says it has already received internal documents from disenchanted former salesmen who claim they were misled as much as their customers.

“In some cases we know of salesmen who sold new products to their own relatives, in complete ignorance of the risks,” said ELJAG chairman Neil Britten. “We want to find out if the old board of Equitable operated an orchestrated cover-up to conceal the severity of its liabilities. For example we have heard allegations of salesmen being encouraged to shred documents in 1998.”

The group says that all material will be treated in the strictest confidence and the names of the salesmen will not be revealed, except with their consent.

“People can post documents to us anonymously or get in touch via a special email – whistleblower@ELJAG.org.uk” said Britten. “We believe there is a huge amount of powerful evidence out there and we have already seen some of it.”

The group has appointed leading City law firm Travers Smith Braithwaite to handle its case. The group says it will be suing to recover the losses incurred by members as a result of Equitable's failure to disclose its true financial liabilities. The group also claims that members have lost more than 20% of their capital.

The criterion for membership of the group is policyholders who were sold their policies after September 1998 and have withdrawn the policy to retain their rights to sue. Members are being asked to pay a £250 membership fee and to contribute a small percentage of their losses to a fighting fund.

“Our aim is to recruit 1,000 members to generate a substantial fighting fund and ensure we can win this battle,” said Britten.
Information about ELJAG's action is available on the groups' website at www.ELJAG.org.uk or by writing to ELJAG, 81 Barn Road, Norwich NR2 4UB. Email info@eljag.org.uk, Fax 01603 760763.