Equitable Life today begins court proceedings against its former auditor Ernst & Young and 15 of its own former directors, in one of the biggest lawsuits of its kind.
The UKs oldest mutual is suing E&Y for 2.05bn for negligence, reduced from 2.6bn when the courts reduced part of the claim last year.
The trial could cost over 100m, although E&Y says Equitable Life is wasting its time and money, because the case should never have been brought.
Equitable Life seeks damages for negligence, accusing E&Y and the directors from misadvising, failing to identify the risk of liabilities arising from its guaranteed annuity rates pension policies between 1997 and 1999.
E&Y chairman Nick Land says: We believe by taking this case Equitable is pouring policyholders money down the drain. Nothing that E&Y did caused Equitables problems. There is nothing we could have told them they did not already know. There was no black hole, no fraud and no money lost.