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The Actuary The magazine of the Institute & Faculty of Actuaries

Governing Equitable Life

I agree with every word of Clifford Sharp’s letter of 5 June. May I add two further thoughts?If the Society and its counsel could not have foreseen the Lords’ ‘perverse’ decision, why should the government’s regulators, defending any possible future action for compensation, not plead that they couldn’t have either?

Second, a courageous response by the Society, on receiving the decision, would have been to declare itself insolvent on the grounds that the reasonable expectations of those policyholders not benefiting from the decision could no longer be met. Apportionment of the assets among all groups of policyholders could then have been handed over to independent actuaries. That might also have enabled the portfolio of assets, so carefully built up, to avoid being wantonly weakened.