Ernst & Young’s landmark court battle with life assurance firm, Equitable Life, gets underway at the Royal Courts of Justice in London this morning (Monday).
The £2bn case brought by the life assurer accuses the Big Four firm of professional negligence when giving advice in the 1990s. In particular, Equitable is arguing that E&Y failed to point out deficiencies in its accounts between 1997 and 1999 because the proper provisions for guaranteed annuities were not included.
Nick Land, chairman of E&Y UK was in bullish mood on the morning of the trial: ‘Today sees the beginning of a case that should never have been brought. We believe that by taking this action Equitable is pouring its policyholders’ money down the drain,’ he said.
Land added that there was nothing his firm could have told Equitable that the firm did not already know. ‘There was no black hole, no fraud and no money lost,’ said Land.
Equitable claims that it is its duty to ‘act in the best interests of continuing policyholders’.
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