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Equitable Life accuses IFAs of urging policyholders to quit

Equitable Life has attacked IFAs and the media for adding to its woes by encouraging policyholders to leave the troubled life office in droves.

Speaking at Equitable&#39s annual general meeting in London this week, chief finance and investment officer Charles Bellringer said the interests of financial advisers do not tally with those of the society. He also accused the media of rehashing stories about Equitable&#39s solvency and insisted that it has always been solvent.

Bellringer said: “I think the interests of IFAs do not coincide necessarily with the interests of the society.”

But IFAs have dismissed his remarks, saying their duty of care is to cli-ents and accuse Equitable of not even trying to retain policyholders after changing the investment mix of its with-profits fund.

It was confirmed at the AGM that the fund would now invest 56 per cent in bonds, 25 per cent in equities, 13 per cent in property and the rest in cash. Previously, equities and property accounted for 44 per cent.

With reduced emphasis on equities, IFAs say the new mix will make the fund underperform and give investors no hope of seeing decent returns or bonuses.

Informed Choice managing director Nick Bamford says: “Our duty of care is to policyholders, who do not understand what is going on. Not only are they fearful of Equitable&#39s status and with being hit with a massive exit penalty, they will now see poor returns and probably no bonus. Equitable is failing to get them to stay.”

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