Policy holders want public E&Y hearing

Policyholders at Equitable Life have demanded a public hearing when Ernst
& Young faces a disciplinary tribunal next year over its audit of the
embattled life insurer.

John Newman, deputy chairman of the Equitable Members Action Group, has
written to the Joint Disciplinary Scheme saying the decision to hold the
tribunal in private was ‘worrisome’.

He argued that, as a policyholder and institute member, his human rights
could be adversely affected should the hearing remain private. ‘If E&Y is to
be tried for its work, it should be in public,’ said Newman.

But the Joint Disciplinary Scheme confirmed that tribunals would remain
private, unless the member or firm against which the complaints are laid
requests otherwise and the chairman of the tribunal agrees. It is understood
that E&Y has not made such a request.

The case is due to be heard next year. Roger Henderson QC, who was involved
in the Ladbroke Grove rail disaster enquiries, is set to preside.

Complaints were originally laid in August 2004, but the hearing was postponed
until the legal case between Equitable and E&Y was resolved. The charges
concern 11 different audits from 1990 to 2000 and a general complaint in
relation to a failure to understand Equitable’s business.

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