Interactive Investor

MPs demand £2.5 billion be paid to Equitable Life pensioners

8th December 2020 14:54

Marc Shoffman from interactive investor

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Provider collapsed 20 years ago, but many argue earlier compensation was not enough.

MPs are demanding billions of pounds more be paid to retirees caught up in the collapse of the Equitable Life pension provider.

It is 20 years since Equitable Life collapsed, taking with it the retirement savings of thousands of customers.

Campaigners from the Equitable Life Members Action Group say victims typically lost 78% of their cash, with some left with less than £20,000 in their pots with the once sought-after scheme.

An inquiry in 2008 uncovered regulatory failures that failed to spot gaps in Equitable Life’s finances and the Treasury agreed a £1.5 billion compensation package in 2010.

But Bob Blackman, Conservative MP and leader of the Equitable Life parliamentary campaign group, says more must now be provided as the initial redress was limited due to the state of the public finances in post-recession 2010.

The group is seeking another £2.5 billion of redress.

A statement demanding that “justice must finally be delivered” has been signed by 140 MPs including Blackman, leader of the Liberal Democrats Sir Ed Davey, Green Party leader Caroline Lucas and Sir Graham Brady, who chairs the influential 1922 Committee of Conservative backbenchers.

Equitable Life operated a ‘with profits’ plan that was supposed to deliver consistent strong returns to investors regardless of stock market volatility.

But this proved too difficult to fund.

Andrew Neligan, wealth manager at Neligan Financial, says the company’s collapse shone a spotlight on the risks of this sort of product.

He says: “Providers discovered the cost of with profits funds, particularly the generous guarantees and bonus rates, and adjusted the plans accordingly, so these types of investment are not open to new investors these days. 
 
“Investors need to understand the nature of what they are investing in and make sure there is nothing inappropriate in a portfolio. 

“This is mostly easily done by investing broadly around the world in a diverse range of investment funds and by taking a necessary degree of investment risk that will help them achieve their financial priorities.”

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