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Ombudsman's report slams government for Equitable Life collapse

Savers who lost money in Equitable Life's 2000 near-collapse should receive compensation, a new report from the parliamentary ombudsman has claimed.Ann Abraham released her report on the issue today, which contained strong criticism of the government and the regulatory system.Ministers and watchdogs were found to not have stepped in during the 1990s, when Equitable Life made financial promises to its customers that it could not keep without ruining the business.Around one million savers lost money as a result, although Ms Abraham's report does not recommend that all of them are repaid in full, or even how many should be paid at all.She commented: "I have alerted Parliament to the injustice which I have found in this case resulted from serial maladministration on the part of the former Department of Trade and Industry, the government Actuary's Department and the Financial Services Authority." Reacting, Equitable Life chairman Vanni Treves - who took over after 2000 - said that he welcomed Ms Abraham's comments."From a policyholder point of view we think this is as formidable a report as the ombudsman could possibly have produced," he said.

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