UK - Thousands of former Equitable Life members are threatening to sue the financial ombudsman service unless it speeds the processing of claims.
The attack on the financial ombudsman service – headed up by Walter Merricks – follows Equitable’s admission that it may fail the Financial Services Authority’s solvency test.
Claimants fear Equitable Life will collapse and they will be unable to claim compensation unless the ombudsman speeds up the processing of their claims.
Any move to take the ombudsman to court for compensation would be the first of its type.
Thousands of former Equitable Life members – who did not have guaranteed annuities – were advised to leave the mutual when its troubles started.
They are seeking compensation after missing out on the compensation Equitable Life paid when it signed a compromise deal that allowed it to cap its GAR liabilities.
Norton Rose pensions litigation partner Charles Evans said that although the ombudsman has immunity from litigation, this might not be enough to stop a claim that shows the ombudsman acted in bad faith.
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