The Equitable Life Late Contributors Action Group is claiming that thousands of late contributors could be in line for compensation.
The group is calling for volunteers and new members to help organise a campaign to seek compensation through the courts or the Financial Ombudsman Service.
Founder Paul Weir says hundreds of Equitable late joiners have received proper compensation and believes that thousands of “late contributors” could be entitled to the same. He says even if a policy pre-dates the September 1998 cut-off, a valid claim is likely on the basis of “fraudulent misrepresentation” if a big contribution was made with advice from an Equitable salesperson. This is based on the legal opinion of George Bompas, QC.
At the same time, the seven Equitable action groups have joined forces to strengthen calls for the company to back a campaign for Government compensation. The groups have formed a movement called E7 which wants the society to put its weight behind calls for £3bn of compensation from the Government.
E7 member Liz Kwantes says Equitable has the infrastructure, expertise and access to the evidence needed to co-ordinate such a compensation case.
However, Equitable has already said it considers that the legal hurdles to Government compensation are likely to be too high and is pushing for Parliamentary Ombudsman Ann Abraham to reopen her investigation into the case.
Kwantes says: “There has been a spectacular drop in new investment in pensions. If the Government does not intervene to demonstrate that regulation actually means something, we will see a whole generation spending their retirement entirely funded by the minimum income guarantee and nothing else. As a country, we cannot afford to have everybody living on benefits.”