A policy holders action group wants to ensure that lessons are learned from the disaster which shocked the entire financial services sector when it became public at the weekend.
Stuart Bayliss, a director of Annuities Direct, co-ordinator of the The Equitable Life Guaranteed Annuities Policy Holders Action Group, said: ‘There’s no doubt the auditors did not question the Equitable Life’s own interpretation of their assets and liabilities. It’s the job of the auditors not just to accept what the company is saying but also to question how it arrived at its numbers.’
Ernst & Young earned almost £500,000 in audit fees from Equitable Life in 1999 and £1.1m for other work.
But E&Y defended its role saying it had adhered to best accounting practice and would defend itself robustly against any claim made against it.
Head of E&Y’s insurance practice Ron Holman, yesterday told The Times: ‘We were quite happy with their audit of the last accounts signed off on 31 December 1999.’So far the Financial Services Authority has ruled out a full inquiry into events at the insurer. Equitable Life’s former finance director Chris Headdon was on Friday made chief executive.
Equitable Life ceased to write new business and is now operating as a closed fund after a House of Lords judgement in July ruled its decision to cut terminal pensions bonuses to holders of guaranteed annuity rate policies was illegal.
Just one half of UK practices have implemented a pricing structure around auto enrolment implementation and advice - with many suffering increased costs
Deloitte's north-west Europe foray; BDO, Smith & Williamson investment paths; Shelley Stock Hutter; and Wilkins Kennedy discussed by editor Kevin Reed on our Friday Afternoon Live broadcast
Accountants should alter their perspective on auto-enrolment to maximise business opportunities, according to Eric Clapton.
Kevin Reed discusses whether new accountancy group Cogital can rival the Big Four...and its likely direction of travel