FSA will not intervene for pensioners

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The Independent Online

The Financial Services Authority's chief executive Hector Sants has dashed hopes that the watchdog will intervene in a fierce dispute between British pensioners and the Irish government.

About 2,000 investors in £46m of bonds issued by the old Bristol & West building society face losing the money as Bank of Ireland, which bought Bristol & West in 1997, attempts to shore up its balance sheet.

As part of that attempt, the Irish government, which owns 15 per cent of BoI, has proposed confiscating the bonds, which pay out 13.375 per cent every year. The consultation ended yesterday and the Irish finance minister, Michael Noonan, will decide on whether or not to carry out his threat in the next few days.

Mark Taber, who fronts a campaign to protect the bonds, has bombarded Mr Sants with emails pleading with the FSA to intervene. However, in a reply this week Mr Sants insisted this was a matter for the Irish authorities. Vince Cable, the Business Secretary, has also written in support of the campaign in his capacity as a MP representing pensioners in his constituency.