UK - Pension funds are backing the government's decision to launch an independent inquiry into the ongoing problems at Equitable Life.
The inquiry – to be headed by Lord Penrose – is to investigate how the current situation at the life assurer arose and identify lessons to be learned for future conduct, administration and regulation of the industry.
The NAPF said: “Anything that sheds light on the events leading to Equitable’s present position and which identifies lessons to be learnt for the future is to be welcomed.
Lord Penrose’s inquiry provides a vital opportunity to reduce the likelihood of another Equitable and to boost the long term confidence and security of UK pensions and savings.”
However concerns are being voiced that the inquiry will take too much time and leave many policyholders waiting for a suitable resolution.
National Information Forum chairman and West Midlands Metropolitan Authorities Pension Fund chief pensions officer Mike Woodall said: “Because this inquiry appears to stretch back to the 1950s this is going to take some time to complete.
That will have the implication that those people so affected have got a continuing significant period of uncertainty as to whether there will be some restitution offered to them by the government.”
And he stressed that the government inquiry would not deflect the NIF from assessing whether there is support to take legal action.
The NIF had already started to canvass support before the government’s announcement.
Woodall added: “We are still proceeding to look at the level of support that is available to us from other LGPS administering authorities to seek our our own legal opinion and to see if there are grounds for legal action. That will continue irrespective of this latest announcement.”
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