Robert Morfee, partner Clarke Willmott, says the law firm has put 14 May as the deadline for making decisions on the first tranche of papers received from policyholders responding to the class action lawsuit being formulated by Equitable Life Trapped Annuitants, ELTA.
The first batch of policy documents required by the lawyers will result in a “firming up” of the proposals for pushing the suit ahead by the end of June, Morfee says.
ELTA has issued guidelines on its website as to the sorts of documents policyholders are required to hand over for perusal as a first stage in deciding whether they would qualify to join the planned legal action.
According to ELTA, the cost of the first stage is a non-refundable £100 covering administration and legal services provided by Clarke Willmott.
Once the firm decides there is enough material to put together a class action suit, and assuming the policyholder qualifies, they would be asked for an additional £900, which includes insurance against paying Equitable Life’s costs should the case fail in court.
The £1000 cost may be seen as steep, but Morfee argues IFAs advising policyholders on whether to join the action should take a particular view.
“If IFAs are consulted on the issue they should regard it as an ‘investment opportunity’,” Morfee says.
”For a limited outlay on capital there is an opportunity for significant return. That’s why they should look at it.”
According to ELTA documents, a minimum of about 500 applicants paying the full fees in order to raise a sufficient amount of cash to cover so-called “disbursements”, including the above mentioned insurance, as well as legal and court fees, ELTA expenses (the group is run on a voluntary basis), etc.IFAonline
The increase in minimum AE contributions has had little impact on opt-out rates - with cessations after April increasing by less than two percentage points, data from The Pensions Regulator (TPR) shows.
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