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Equitable Life still looking for a buyer

Equitable Life chairman Vanni Treves says the society has reached an important crossroads and is still looking for a buyer but could happily remain as a stand alone business.

In its preliminary results announcement for 2007, Equitable Life says it has made some “major achievements” in the past 12 months including transferring £4.6bn of its fixed pensions to Canada Life.

Last year also saw the University Life Assurance Society – part of Eq Life – transferred to Reliance Mutual at the end of May.

The society’s £1.7bn of with-profits annuities were transferred to Prudential in December 2007.

Treves says: “The major achievements of the last 12 months have brought the Society to an important crossroads. We can comfortably run the business off ourselves, but we are also in good shape for others to consider. If one or more third parties can provide a better outlook for our policyholders than we can ourselves then we will recommend the best approach to our members. Whatever the outcome, the next 12 months is the right time to address this question.”

Chief executive Charles Thomson says: “The Society has continued its steady progress and we now operate ‘business as usual’ like any other closed fund. Of course, we have also implemented very significant deals with Canada Life and Prudential as well as addressing smaller issues in University Life and the Subordinated Bonds. The Society is at last ready to address the fundamental question of its longer term future – to continue alone, or to find a buyer. As always, the interests of policyholders will be paramount and we hope to identify the best approach this year.”

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