Letter: Life assurance

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The Independent Online
Sir: The response from elements of the life-assurance industry to the Securities and Investments Board's proposal to broaden the constitution of self-regulatory boards by including non-industry representatives (14 January) is entirely predictable.

Self-regulation, in terms of the financial-services industry, has been a dismal failure and the incestuous make-up of regulatory boards and committees has been a major contributory factor. This attempt to police the life-assurance industry by its own practitioners has produced an environment that is characterised by cynicism, self-interest and a determination to maintain the status quo.

The long-suffering public would benefit enormously from the abandonment of self-regulation but, as an interim step, the breaking of the 'self-preservation society' syndrome would be welcome. It is to be hoped that the involvement and contribution of public-interest representatives would ensure that, for the first time, the life-assurance industry is forced to take account of what the public wants and to respond accordingly.

Yours faithfully,


Marketing Director

The Equitable Life Assurance Society

Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire