Financial penalties levied on Equitable Life's former auditors Ernst & Young (E&Y) have been drastically reduced by the accountancy profession's disciplinary body.
In 2008, E&Y was fined £4.2m, with £5.7m costs, for failing to warn Equitable policyholders of its problems, according to the BBC.
E&Y and a former partner, Kevin McNamara, were severely reprimanded at the time.
However, following an appeal, E&Y's fine was cut to £500,000, an 88% reduction, and costs cut to £2.4m. Both the firm and McNamara were still reprimanded, but to a lesser extent.
The decision was taken because it was felt E&Y and Mr McNamara had not, after all, acted with "a lack of objectivity and independence", which the tribunal said had been "the most serious" of the allegations.
Neither E&Y nor Mr McNamara had appealed against the other decision they had been guilty of more than 20 instances of a "lack of professional competence" when carrying out audits of the Equitable's accounts for the years 1997, 1998 and 1999.
Equitable Life closed to new business in 2000 and came close to collapse after failing to put sufficient funds aside to pay for the guaranteed payouts it had promised on some pension policies it had been selling from the 1950s until 1988.
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