Case Study: Paul Weir, 51, providing for four children

'I have lost more than £40,000'
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Paul Weir admits he made the classic investment mistake of putting all his eggs in one basket. Unfortunately the basket was Equitable Life.

The 51-year-old public relations consultant from Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, put his savings, pension, children's trust fund and personal equity plan into Equitable - a total of about £200,000. That would normally buy an annuity of about £14,000 a year, not a fortune but with the state pension it would have been a good basis on which to retire.

It is a month since Mr Weir formed the Equitable Late Contributors Action Group, which represents policyholders who contributed to their pension after 1998, when the problems began to emerge.

He said: "I have four children aged between six and 24 and my provision for them has been torn to shreds." When he decided to cash in his policies, he suffered a 14 per cent penalty as well as the 10 per cent market value adjustment. "They told me they would refund me in full, but only if I left my money with them for another 10 years," he said.

Mr Weir said: "I have lost more than £40,000 and will have to earn that back." He is not impressed with the government response to the Penrose report. "They are trying to duck and dive and get out of their responsibilities, let alone their legal obligations," he said.