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Davies says Equitable Life report is flawed

Former FSA chairman Howard Davies has told MPs he believes that Parliamentary Ombudsman Ann Abraham’s Equitable Life report is flawed.

Abraham’s office says she stands by her original findings.

Speaking at a public administration select committee hearing into Equitable Life last week, Davies said he was “very surprised” that he had not been interviewed before Abraham reached her conclusions on the regulatory failures of the FSA under his watch.

He said it was difficult to make a case for compensating the victims from the public purse as it was hard to calculate what proportion of losses could be directly attributed to regulatory failings.

Committee chairman Tony Wright quizzed Davies on whether he accepted the ombudsman’s findings that there were 10 cases of maladministration by the regulators of Equitable Life. Davies said he could only comment on the latter five which applied to the period when he was in charge at the FSA.

But he said: “I do not find the five criticisms of maladministration of the FSA during my period there to be persuasive.”

When asked whether he deemed Abraham’s report to be flawed, Davies answered “yes”. He said: “I do think that this is unsatisfactory and I do find when I read the description of the regulatory period for which I was responsible that it does lack understanding of the dilemmas that the regulators faced and what we were trying to do.”

A spokeswoman for Abraham’s office says the report tackles representations from public bodies following the issue of her draft report which suggested that the process had not been fair.

The report said: “I have considered those representations very carefully and responded to them in detail although I have not reproduced those exchanges in this report.”

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