Ann Abraham, UK Parliamentary Ombudsman and Health Service Ombudsman for England, has laid a report before both Houses of Parliament which upholds a series of complaints of regulatory failure on the part of public bodies responsible for the prudential regulation of The Equitable Life Assurance Society in the period prior to 1 December 2001.

The report, entitled Equitable Life: a decade of regulatory failure, makes ten determinations of maladministration on the part of the former Department of Trade and Industry, the Government Actuary’s Department, and the FSA.

Ann Abrahams was given the task of responding to a general complaint made that:

“… the public bodies responsible for the prudential regulation of insurance companies … and the Government Actuary’s Department failed for considerably longer than a decade properly to exercise their regulatory functions in respect of the Equitable Life Assurance Society and were therefore guilty of maladministration.”

A further 18 detailed complaints were made.

In short, the complaints maintained that the public bodies given the task of oversight of insurance companies failed to take appropriate actions to ensure that the Equitable Life Assurance Society was adequately regulated.

Ann Abraham has made two recommendations to the Government. The first is that the public bodies should apologise to those people for serial regulatory failure.

The second recommendation is that the Government should establish and fund a compensation scheme. The scheme should then assess the individual cases of those who were affected by the regulatory failure and provide the appropriate compensation.

To view the report: Equitable Life: a decade of regulatory failure