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Equitable hands out 450,000 clients&#39 details

Equitable Life has been attacked by IFAs for releasing information about 450,000 of its policyholders to an IFA firm and its action group, amid fears it is violating the Data Protection Act.

Bristol IFA Whitechurch Securities and the Equitable Policyholders&#39 Action Group have written to the policyholders asking for their support and offering to sell them an information pack outlining how they can transfer out.

Equitable says because it is a mutual it is obliged to provide names and addresses to any member who asks for them. But three other mutual life offices say this is not true and by releasing the information Equitable would be falling foul of the Data Protection Act.

Action group chairman Ron Bullen says it bought the client information from Equitable and is mailing policy- holders to ask for their support in the struggle to get the best deal from the life office.

Lincolnshire IFA Cranwell Investments managing director Greville Price says: “This is complete nonsense.It goes against everything that I would have thought the Data Protection Act is designed to do. I find it very difficult to believe this is the case.”

Equitable Life spokesman Alistair Dunbar says: “The Equitable Life is a mutual and therefore members can have access to policyholders&#39 names and addresses. The fee involved was to cover our administrative costs.”

Whitechurch Securities senior investment manager Warren Perry says: “We have approached clients of Equitable Life, not of other IFAs. We are a commercial operation. This is a commercial decision.”

Brown accused, p128

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