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Action groups want judicial review unless watchdog speeds up Equitable claims

Two Equitable Life member action groups are considering taking the Financial Ombudsman Service to a judicial review unless the processing of their misselling compensation claims is speeded up.

Equitable Late Joiners&#39 Action Group vice-president Paul Weir says there are still around 2,500 complaints with FOS and the group will take it to judicial review if there is not movement “very soon indeed”.

Equitable Members&#39 Action Group chairman Paul Braithwaite says it is also considering making a formal complaint about the service.

Both Braithwaite and Weir claim there is an element of collusion between the FOS, FSA and Equitable Life board, which Weir believes has allowed Equitable time to prepare its compensation scheme for members.

ELJAG has attacked the compensation offer from Equitable, saying it is discriminatory and pays late joiners a “derisory sum”.

It is believed that Equitable Life has now finalised plans to compensate 70,000 former policyholders who were sold policies after September 1998 when Equitable already knew it had a problem with guaranteed annuity rates previously offered.

ELJAG chairman Neil Britten says: “This new scheme from Equitable seems to be based on what they want to pay rather than what people have actually lost.”

Emag chairman Paul Braithwaite says: “We are more than concerned at the lack of progress and the apparent bending over backwards of the FOS to allow Equitable to commission hard gun barristers to come up with eloquent explanations to get them off the hook.”

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