Equitable Life is relying on statutes of limitation and exagerated threats of the difficulty of winn...
Equitable Life is relying on statutes of limitation and exagerated threats of the difficulty of winning compensation to see off the threat of mis-selling claims, says law firm Clarke Willmott in its latest Financial Services Update.
The Limitation Act means that an increasing number of transactions cannot be considered for legal proceedings because they took place six or more years ago.
Investors do have a period of 15 years from the date of a transaction to make a legal case, but only three years from a "date of knowledge", which in this case was the House of Lord's decision in July 2000.
Three years have now passed since that decision, meaning July 2003 was the end of the road for investors who put money in before July 1997.
Clark Willmott says it suspects that "somewhere in Equitable's headquarters in Aylesbury there is a chart or a computer programme which shows potential liability decreasing as time goes by."
"Equitable's current furious postering is really designed to lower expectations and to put claimants off making claims or alternatively to induce them to settle low."
Clark Willmott adds that the Financial Services Ombudsman has made a finding against Equitable in five lead cases, all involving "late joiners", indicating that the FOS "is approaching Equitable cases in exactly the same way as it would approach any other financial services mis-selling case".
Meanwhile, the Treasury is yet to publish the report of the Penrose Inquiry into what went wrong at Equitable Life. Policyholders can only hope that it is actually released sooner rather than later given the repeated delays to its publication.
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