Public Administration Select Committee: Press Notices

6 November 2008


The Public Administration Select Committee (PASC) is holding two further sessions in its examination of the Parliamentary Ombudsman’s report Equitable Life: a decade of regulatory failure.

In her report, the Ombudsman makes ten findings of maladministration against the prudential regulators of Equitable Life and the Government Actuary’s Department, and recommends a government-funded compensation scheme to make good losses suffered by Equitable Life policyholders as a result of this maladministration. The total amount of compensation involved is not certain, but has been calculated by policyholder groups as amounting to several billion pounds.

On Tuesday 11 November, at 2.00pm in the Thatcher Room, Portcullis House, the Committee will hear from representatives of policyholders affected by cuts in the value of their policies and annuities. It will then hear from the Chair and Chief Executive of Equitable Life. The witnesses are:

Representatives of Equitable Life policyholders and annuitants:

• Paul Braithwaite, Colin Slater, Liz Kwantes and Ann Berry, all representing the Equitable Members’ Action Group (EMAG)

• Peter Scawen of the Equitable Life Trapped Annuitants (ELTA) group

They will be followed at about 3.15 pm by:

• Vanni Treves, Chair of Equitable Life Assurance Society

• Charles Thomson, Chief Executive of Equitable Life Assurance Society

On Thursday 13 November, at 10.00am in the Thatcher Room, Portcullis House, the Committee will explore with a panel of expert commentators the wider implications of the failure of Equitable Life for regulation and redress:

• Sir Howard Davies, former Chair of the Financial Services Authority

• Tom Winsor, former Rail Regulator

• Professor Lord (Philip) Norton, former Chair of the House of Lords Constitution Committee

• Patrick Collinson, money editor of the Guardian

• Ian Cowie, personal finance editor of the Daily Telegraph

This session is likely to focus on wider questions including the appropriate role of regulatory bodies, the nature of redress applying to cases of regulatory failure, and the potential impact on the public purse of payment of compensation in cases of this kind.

For further information about the work of the Committee, visit our website at:  


Committee Membership: Tony Wright (Chairman) (Lab) (Cannock Chase), Mr David Burrowes (Con) (Enfield, Southgate), Paul Flynn (Lab) (Newport West), David Heyes (Lab) (Ashton under Lyne), Kelvin Hopkins (Lab) (Luton North), Mr Ian Liddell-Grainger (Con) (Bridgewater), Julie Morgan (Lab) (Cardiff North), Mr Gordon Prentice (Lab) (Pendle), Paul Rowen (Lib Dem) (Rochdale), Charles Walker (Con) (Broxbourne), Jenny Willott (Lib Dem) (Cardiff Central)

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