RECTIFICATION SCHEME - Press Release 14 Sept 2004


Press release





          Tuesday 14 September 2004


Equitable pensioners warned:

“Don’t sign before you get advice”


An action group is warning thousands of pensioners to seek advice before signing away their rights to receive compensation from Equitable Life.


Thousands of Equitable pensioners have been sent “Rectification offers” by the Society over the past few weeks but many pensioners are confused by what they are being asked to sign.


“The offers fall a long way short of the complete restitution that some people were offered from the first scheme before Equitable unilaterally abandoned it,” said Peter Butler from the group. “We are also concerned at reports that in some cases people may have been asked to sign away their legal rights to make claims on other mis-sold policies which are nothing to do with the Rectification Scheme.”


The Rectification Scheme Working Group claims that many people were tricked into giving up valuable risk-free guaranteed pensions in return for a With Profits Annuity which is now actually falling in value by 40% or worse.


The group has written to the FSA to challenge the legality of the scheme but is still waiting for a response. “It is a disgrace that the FSA has allowed Equitable to proceed with this diluted compensation scheme,” said Butler. “By allowing its name to be used in Equitable’s leaflet it looks as though the FSA has endorsed a scheme which we think is of dubious legality and fairness.”


The group also claims that Equitable is browbeating people into signing quickly by setting an artificial 28-day “time limit” on acceptance and is refusing to give detailed figures to show how they have arrived at the offers. A number of pensioners who contacted the group have written back to Equitable demanding to know how they have calculated the sums offered and insisting on an extension to the deadline that the Society is seeking to impose.


“We suggest that people should not be intimidated by the 28 day deadline and should write to Equitable for clarification and seek professional advice before signing anything,” said Butler. “Anybody who signs up for one of these offers may well be giving up all rights to any compensation in the future.”


The Rectification Scheme Working Group can be contacted via Peter Butler on 020 8466 6446.