Equitable Life faces a challenge from an angry policyholder who has launched an audacious attempt to join its board.
Edward Doogan, 45, who says he wants to “shake up” the life office, is standing for election at Equitable Life's AGM on May 19 but the life office will fight the move.
VAT specialist Doogan, who works for an accountancy firm, insists he is not a carpetbagger but admits Equitable Life may have to put itself up for sale. He holds a guaranteed annuity contract and a personal pension plan with the firm.
Equitable Life is going to the High Court in July in a bid to ditch guarantees on annuities in favour of giving clients higher with-profits returns. It faces a writ from an action group representing more than 1,000 policyholders who want it to widen the scope of the case but Doogan is not a member of the group.
He says: “I've had more than 40 calls from policyholders, including those with guaranteed annuities, who are angry with the life office. It has 12 months to sort itself out otherwise it won't just be me standing against the board. I have been very disappointed with Equitable's pension fund performances and I believe this is because it is being complacent.”
Four directors are seeking re-election. President John Sclater, in a letter to policyholders, says: “Your board recommends members re-elect the directors who are retiring at the meeting. The candidate proposed does not have this background and the board considers that he would not bring the experience needed to direct a financial services company.”
Equitable Life was not available for comment.