SIB calls for quick redress on pensions

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The Independent Online
The Personal Investment Authority, the financial regulator, yesterday gave its members up to 18 months' further grace finally to resolve the pensions mis-selling scandal, as it admitted that its long-running review had been painfully slow to date.

The PIA's latest deadlines came as the Securities and Investments Board, the senior City regulator, backed calls for victims of the scandal to be offered "guarantees" of compensation to speed up the process.

Sir Andrew Large, chairman of the SIB, yesterday called on companies simply to concede that their clients had been mis-sold a pension without going through further detailed calculations.

He said: "Firms should consider the advantages of avoiding unnecessarily detailed reviews of every case and simply accept that many of their investors who opted out of, or failed to join, their occupational pension scheme will have suffered loss." His comments were welcomed by Prudential and Pearl, which said they had been investigating claims with a similar attitude for some time.

Sir Andrew said SIB's backing for long-term guarantees - in lieu of paying immediate compensation to policyholders - was not a soft option for companies concerned.

The Association of British Insurers and Legal & General, which have been lobbying for the "guarantee" system, said this would ensure far swifter redress.

The regulator admitted yesterday that out of 500,000 priority cases identified, barely 10 per cent had been assessed by 31 March and compensation offered in just 20,000 instances.

A leaked PIA report in The Independent yesterday, showed several of the UK's biggest companies had far worse records, barely paying any compensation at all in some cases.