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Equitable Life competition scheme condemned

The Parliamentary Ombudsman has today issued a damning indictment of the U.K.'s proposed £400 million payout to Equitable Life suffers, many of whom lost their life savings during the company's near collapse back in 2000. The £400 million compensation scheme, yet to be rubberstamped by the government, equates to just £266 per policyholder despite the fact that a recent report suggested losses for policyholders were between £4 billion and £4.8 billion. So is their new hope for Equitable Life suffers?

There is no doubt that the damning report from the Parliamentary Ombudsman will make the UK government sit up and listen but whether additional funding will be injected into the compensation package remains to be seen. This has taken 10 years to bring to fruition and even now there is great controversy regarding the level of compensation and the admission of guilt on behalf of the UK government. While there is no doubt that the near collapse of Equitable Life, and the massive losses which some customers experienced, were the result of guarantees set up by the company itself the regulatory system in the UK was also called into question.

Whether or not the government is able to introduce more money into the compensation scheme is a matter for discussion in the short to medium term but ultimately there is no way they will increase the compensation pot from £400 million to anywhere near the £4 billion estimated losses.

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