Should I be asked to pay?

  LastChip 12:12 27 Jul 2008

click here for an editorial on the damning report by Ann Abraham, claiming the government should compensate Equitable Life policyholders.

While I feel sorry for these people, as indeed I would feel sorry for anyone in similar circumstances, the keys to my mind are:

1. the government should pay the bill eg: You and Me.

2. these people took a decision on a policy that was too good to be true.

3. financial advisers completely failed to see through the sham that it was.

I might add as regards 2, many of who were professionals who should have known better.

Throughout the year, I take financial decisions that will affect my future. I take them knowing that I stand or fall on *my* decisions and I don't expect anyone to bail me out if I get it wrong.

Why then, as a tax payer, should I foot the bill?

  GANDALF <|:-)> 12:21 27 Jul 2008

It was a private financial arrangement and there is no way that I would compensate any of the hapless policy holders. If they do get compensation perhaps the tax payer would like to compensate me for some of my shares that have fallen in value so that I can trouser the money.
'Personal responsibilty' is the key phrase here and Ann Abraham wants deporting pronto.


  spuds 12:48 27 Jul 2008

The thing that bugs me the most about these type of reports, and the eventual findings, is that some 'professionals' or 'experts' are not always blameless, and that includes appointed watchdogs, who should be caring for us.

Last year I was involved in seeking advice regarding transferring pension rights (got the same to do later this year), and the help received was (in my opinion) either very confusing or downright poor. Every company that I contacted seemed to have an attitude problem, which imho truly frightened me.And I am a fairly robust person.

I know of a number of people who have had to return to work after their 60/65 birthday (some with health problems), because their pension funds were plundered by their previous employers. There were very long protracted out court proceedings, regarding the governments promises and so called sympathetic procedures. Some of these people have since died (so they will not get anything), others are still waiting for the rainbow to pay out their 'compensation'. The point is, its not actual compensation. Some of the people concerned had been paying into the pension fund for 30 odd years, and have seen no returns whatsoever, so far!.

The thing that is truly unacceptable, in this particular case, not one of the previous directors have had to explain their 'misguided' actions, found guilty of any offences, or have suffered themselves via their own pension rights and entitlements.

  LastChip 13:06 27 Jul 2008

I don't have a problem with the finding of government failings, I do have a problem with being expected to pay for it.

As spuds pointed out, the people directly responsible for this disaster have walked away and no doubt are working elsewhere, with their futures intact.

If you want huge (one might say obscene) salaries that go hand in hand with the *top* jobs, it about time you accepted the responsibility that goes with it.

Budgets have remained the same forever. You can't pay out more than you earn and Equitable were doing that for years. That makes those people wholly and totally responsible, not the tax payer.

  Arthur Scrimshaw 13:28 27 Jul 2008

by the EL fiasco, I do feel aggrieved by what happened. I saw my pension fund cut in half back in 2000 when it all hit the fan, it's only just got back to it's original value this year, so I've lost 8 years worth of growth. However I'm realistic about this, I (or rather my Company) chose to go with EL and as others have said here, the caveat that the value of pensions can go up or down was ringing in my ears. Even though the fall was due to ineptitude and greed of EL and not so much market forces, I'm not asking for the taxpayer to bail me out. I remember how incensed I was when Railtrack investors were clamoring for compensation when the Company was forced into administration, and it would be hypocritical of me to expect to be treated differently.

  Arthur Scrimshaw 13:31 27 Jul 2008

The 'the policies to good to be true' was before my time, mine was the same as other schemes available from other pension providers, and it was these earlier pensions which caused mine to go wrong. Of course I didn't know about them at the time!

  jack 13:57 27 Jul 2008

Who's next?
Financial decisions are made by individuals, their advisors, and the organizations making the offer.
If such decisions go bottom up - that's life for those individuals advisors/organizations.

If an individual or group feel there is a perhaps fraud case to answer or similar then there are channels.
But at no time can it be a Governments/public purse recompense situation.
All this has been said already here and elsewhere.

  Forum Editor 14:01 27 Jul 2008

and we are the government, so there's an argument for saying that we have little choice but to ensure that the victims of misleading financial advice are compensated if the government could have influenced their decision - little choice that is, other than resolving to elect a different government next time.

The other argument - the one I tend to favour - is that we're all supposed to be adults, and presumably responsible for our own decisions in life. I fail to see why my hard-earned tax pounds should go towards compensating someone who hapened to back the wrong horse, so to speak.

  spuds 14:31 27 Jul 2008

I think one of the main points that as been seriously missed, is the role of the watchdog or ombudsman. If they acted in the role that they are responsible for, then some of these later event may not occur.

In the case of the FSA and Northern Rock, there was resignations after the event "because mistakes were made". Other examples have come to light, in other dealings, these are only now being brought to the publics and governments attention.These establishments cost the taxpayer, million of pounds a year to run, with some very high salaries being paid out, yet the taxpayer as very little readdress, on how public money is being spent on administration.

On 04/07/2008, I emailed a question to the FSA, and received an automated response, that my question would be answered 'within 12 working days'. As to date (approx 23 days), I am still waiting for the response regarding the answer to a question I raised. Is that efficiency, or are my expectation set to high.Mine was only a simple one off question. I would hate to think how higher stake events are investigated and responded to, perhaps we are beginning to find out now.

  griffon56 16:30 27 Jul 2008

I wouldn't be at all surprised if there was 'serial maladministration' in a lot of any Government's actions, but I don't see that the general public, who are not the Government but only its source of finance, have to pick up the bill for it.

People who invested in the dodgy policies of Equitable Life, Henry, ought to have been as sceptical of Government assurances on the matter as they were in doubting the value of the policies in the first place.

There is no protection in assuming that balderdash is only so if uttered by a rascal and then made the purest truth if coming from Government lips. Did I hear someone mention WMD?

Nobody suggested the Government should compensate people suffering from losses occasioned by the collapse of BCCI, another company whose promised returns were pie in the sky and looked it.

  oresome 16:54 27 Jul 2008

"Should I be asked to pay?"

Anybody in a pension scheme already is contributing part of their potential pension to a fund setup to compensate members of failed schemes.

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