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Delay hits the final verdict on Equitable

A further delay has hit the Parliamentary Ombudsman’s investigation into the prudential regulation of Equitable Life and the watchdog says it cannot commit to a new publication date.

In a letter sent to MPs, Parliamentary Ombudsman Ann Abraham says that due to the fact the Government Actuary’s Department, the Treasury and FSA have sent her a joint 500-page response to her draft report, her final report will not published before the summer recess.

The letter says that she will now need time to consider the points that have been made in the response before providing a revised draft report to all interested parties which will allow the final report to be published.

The letter says she cannot give any further commitment as to the timetable for publication of the report.

Abraham said last autumn that her report was to be delayed until at least May this year after her team uncovered potentially vital information in evidence given to it by the Government, taking her investigation to over three years in length.

A national newspaper leak of her draft report in March suggested that Abraham would find the Government guilty of failing to properly regulate the provider and also attach blame to the FSA.

She says she will provide a further update in October.

The letter says: “I recognise that this will be a disappointment to many of your constituents and I am sorry about that. At the same time, I am sure that my goal of producing a robust and authoritative report, which has benefited from the representations of those affected by the investigation, will ultimately best be served by my taking the time necessary to carefully consider the views of the bodies under investigation, of those representing Equitable policyholders and annuitants, and of others.”

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