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Axa to distribute orphan assets

Axa is free to distribute the £1.7bn of orphan assets to shareholders rather than policyholders after the Consumers&#39 Association announced that it would not be appealing last November&#39s High Court decision.

The trial judge, Mr Justice Evans-Lombe, yesterday gave the detailed reasons for his decision. He accepted the idea that policyholders&#39 realistic expectations that they would benefit from inherited estates was limited.

The decision is thought to affect an estimated £20bn in orphan assets across the industry, which life insurers will now consider distributing to shareholders or using in future deals or acquisitions.

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