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&#39Parliamentary watchdog is best chance of redress&#39

Equitable Life is increasing pressure on the Parliamentary Ombudsman for a fresh investigation into maladministration by the Government in the period before the FSA took over regulation of the industry.

Chairman Vanni Treves told policyholders at the AGM that Parliamentary Ombudsman Ann Abraham is the best chance of compensation because she is not required to establish blame to the same standard as a court of law.

She also has the power to investigate all Government departments, including the Government Actuary&#39s Department, and her investigation would cost the society nothing and be concluded more quickly than litigation.

Treves urged policyholders to write to their MPs calling for the Parliamentary Ombudsman to reopen the matter. Last week, he wrote to all MPs asking them to support the campaign and is meeting Abraham this week to push his case.

He says issues that need to be examined are whether regulators knew Equitable&#39s capital was diminishing to dangerously low levels in the 1980s and 1990s, why the regulator failed to challenge the lawfulness of the terminal bonus policy when it was introduced in 1993 and why proper reserves were not insisted on.

Treves said: “The Parliamentary Ombudsman has a great responsibility to investigate the issue of regulatory maladministration. Penrose has provided Ann Abraham with the necessary ammunition and she must now fire the starting gun for a new inquiry to begin. I am confident she will and the moral case for investigating Government compensation is now compelling.”

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