Equitable attacks actuaries' findings

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The Independent Online

Equitable Life yesterday accused the actuaries' professional body of "shying away" in a report on the demise of the mutual life assurer from looking at whether some of its members were responsible for its problems.

Equitable Life yesterday accused the actuaries' professional body of "shying away" in a report on the demise of the mutual life assurer from looking at whether some of its members were responsible for its problems.

The attack came as the Institute of Actuaries published findings of an eight-month investigation into what lessons actuaries who operate in the life assurance industry could learn from the collapse of Equitable.

Equitable, which is itself considering suing former directors including actuaries, said: "They are the experts. When looking at what happened at Equitable, which caused pain for so many people, you have to look at who as well as what went wrong."

Equitable has hired the City law firm Herbert Smith to investigate whether past directors or advisers were negligent. One person who was criticised for his role at Equitable is Chris Headdon, the society's former chief executive and chief actuary.

Equitable has not decided yet whether to sue any individuals in a bid to win compensation for its nearly 1 million customers.

Peter Clark, president of the Institute, defended the lack of focus on individuals in the report. "This was never going to be a finger-pointing exercise. We did not have access to all the internal documents at Equitable which other reviews have had access to."

He will now press for more stringent checks and balances on the decisions of the appointed actuary within life assurers.

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