FORMER Equitable Life policyholders who have lodged their mis-selling cases with the Financial Ombud...
FORMER Equitable Life policyholders who have lodged their mis-selling cases with the Financial Ombudsman may soon lose their chance to receive a decision from the service, says the Scotsman. Newspaper.
Many of the 2,500 Equitable cases registered with the ombudsman are likely to be dropped if Equitable's second compromise is voted on successfully in early 2003, as expected, according to the Equitable Late Joiners Action Group.
ELJAG spokesman Paul Weir said: "This happened to policyholders with the first compromise. They lost their right to an ombudsman decision because it sat on cases until the compromise vote made them irrelevant. It seems obvious that, just as before, the FOS is going to sit on claims until the new compromise goes through - effectively killing them off."
An FOS spokesman confirmed that cases of former policyholders may not receive ombudsman decisions if they are not settled by the time Equitable's new compromise is voted on.
UK HOUSE PRICES rose at their highest annual rate in 13 years last month, recording a 25.5% jump, according to data from Nationwide, the UK's largest building society, published in this morning's Times.
Economists said the data increased the likelihood that the booming housing market will crash, rather than gently deflating.
House prices climbed 2.0% in November from October's 1.4% monthly rise, Nationwide said. The average house price rose more than £2,000 last month to reach £115,761.
THE CURSE of the Maxwell pensions scandal is set to strike again tomorrow when trustees inform about 1,400 long-suffering scheme members that their retirement income will be halved, continues the FT.
The trustee of one of the four main pension schemes of the empire of the late disgraced media tycoon Robert Maxwell has blamed a dispute with the government, accusing it of withholding about £30m needed to fund member pensions.
Law Debenture, the trustee, says there is a £40m shortfall in the £79m Maxwell Communication Pension Plan, partly caused by difficult financial conditions and a requirement that the scheme increase members' pensions by at least 5 per cent a year.
PRUDENTIAL, the life insurer, cut the value of its policyholders' savings yesterday by 7%, says the Times.
It is the third time since February that Prudential has cut bonuses - and the second in three months - taking the combined reduction in typical maturity values to 12%.
The move also comes despite Prudential's decision to reduce its exposure to equities before the worst of the stock market falls earlier this year.
The cut will affect people who hold unitised with-profits policies with Prudential and Scottish Amicable, the life company owned by Prudential.
LAST-DITCH negotiations over the EU Savings Tax Directive were unravelling yesterday as Britain and Luxembourg hardened their positions in negotiations with the Swiss over bank secrecy, adds the Times.
The Ecofin council of European finance ministers needs to agree a common position today over a Swiss compromise in order to rescue the planned tax. This initiative seeks to stem the flight of capital to tax havens through automatic exchange of information between tax authorities. Switzerland has refused to agree to automatic disclosure of information about Swiss bank accounts held by EU citizens, and instead has proposed a 35% withholding tax on EU depositors.
Britain is opposed to the Swiss compromise and in a move that could wreck the initiative Luxembourg has threatened to veto the directive if the Swiss are not forced into greater disclosure. The row exposes the lukewarm commitment of Luxembourg, Belgium and Austria to the directive.
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