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Pru in talks to take on Equitable annuitants

Equitable Life and Prudential have held talks which could lead to the bulk transfer of all of Equitable&#39s beleaguered annuitants.

In Equitable&#39s preliminary announcement out this week, the society accepts that individual with-profits transfers are faced with many legal, regulatory and practical hurdles.

But it accepts that these problems could be dealt with through a bulk transfer to another insurance company. It says that the move is feasible if appropriate commercial terms can be agreed.

Last November, Equitable caused outrage by slashing the retirement income of with-profits annuitants by up to 30 per cent.

Other providers are believed to have considered the move but were put off by scale of the problems. However, some believe the cuts will now make the transaction more attractive.

Prudential spokesman Darragh Leeson says: “We have had a conversation or discussion with the comp-any, as have all the major players in the industry with an interest in the bulks market, and our door remains open.”

Equitable Life spokesman Alistair Dunbar says: “If someone made us an offer that made sense, we would have to look at it.”

Equitable Life with-profits annuitant Nicholas Oglethorpe says: “After the cuts that have been brought in this year, it may mean that the sale of this section of the with-profits fund is more feasible. The expense of the transfer will still have to be borne by the same assets that support the fund, so it is not cheerful news but it does remove the nightmare of Equitable Life going belly up.”


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