View more on these topics

Equitable quiz for former directors

The net appears to be closing in on former directors and auditors of Equitable Life, with Equitable&#39s new board taking the first steps towards legal action for redress.

Herbert Smith has been investigating events leading up to the society&#39s financial crisis on behalf of Equitable Life&#39s new board and examining the conduct of previous boards, auditors, advisers and regulators.

The lawyers are now writing to 20 former directors, including three former chief executives, to seek explanation on a number of issues of concern.

Former auditor Ernst & Young is also receiving a letter after a report by PricewaterhouseCoopers raised serious concerns.

Those involved have until January to respond to the complaints. If Equitable does not receive satisfactory explanations, it will start legal proceedings.

The recipients include former chief executive and appointed actuary Chris Headdon who is already at the centre of an FSA investigation over Equitable&#39s reinsurance deal, former chief executive Alan Nash, former chairman John Sclater, and former managing director Roy Ranson.

Other notables include former New Millennium Experience Company chief executive Jenny Page, Manchester United chairman Roland Smith and Schroders chairman Peter Sedgwick.

The FSA is not off the hook yet and could face further investigation by Equit-able&#39s lawyers but the life office is waiting for the findings of the inquiry by Lord Penrose before taking the matter further.

Herbert Smith is also approaching Equitable&#39s former legal advisers Denton Wilde Sapte, seeking explanation of particular aspects of its advice.

Policyholders are this week receiving the compromise scheme documents and voting papers, with policyholder meetings set to take place in January.

Chief executive Charles Thomson says: “If we do not receive satisfactory explanations and if it is cost-effective to do so, we will commence legal proceedings.”


Norman Digance

Lives: Winchester with his wife and three children.Born: Eastbourne.Education: “When you get to my stage in life, where you were educated becomes irrelevant.”Career: Started out in the Civil Service at the Department of the Environment, then moved to the Building Societies Commission where his roles included secretary to the commission, head of external affairs, head […]

Widows&#39 renewal clause angers IFAs

Balloon barrage: Consumers&#39 Association director general Sheila McKechnie has written an open letter to the FSA demanding that it identify where consumers are most vulnerable to poor products and financial information in its first 100 days after getting its full authority last week. It wants an FSA action plan on how it will root out […]

Independent view

November marked something of an ending for me. With the FSA assuming its full powers at the end of last month, my job as PIA board director to all intents and purposes has finished. So it is time to indulge in nostalgia and reminiscences.It is over 20 years since I first became an IFA. The […]

Website sells stakeholder for children

Punter Southall Financial Management has designed a website for parents who want to start their children&#39s pension planning by setting up a stakeholder scheme.The IFA arm of consulting actuary Punter Southall & Co claims that (right) is the first site dedicated exclusively to setting up third-party stakeholder plans.PSFM says that people visiting can […]

The Investment Clock: Keep calm and Macron!

Trevor Greetham, Head of Multi Asset In a marked contrast to the surge in risk sentiment that followed President Trump’s election in November, markets greeted Emmanuel Macron’s victory in the French presidential election with satisfaction and relief, rather than euphoria. After rallying strongly on opinion polls that accurately predicted the outcome, the euro held onto […]


News and expert analysis straight to your inbox

Sign up


    Leave a comment