PracticeAccounting FirmsEquitable court deal a possibility

Equitable court deal a possibility

Equitable Life this week began an appeal against a High Court ruling striking out most of its multi-billion pound action against former auditor Ernst & Young.

Link: Battle resumes between E&Y and Equitable

But the latest court battle could be redundant should reports prove true that the Equitable chief executive, Charles Thomson, would consider a settlement deal.

An Equitable Life spokesman told Accountancy Age that reports had been ‘blown out of all proportion’.

‘The chief executive was merely acknowledging that most cases settle out of court, so it must be a possibility,’ he said.

Although E&Y refuses to consider a settlement at present, commentators feel it will happen, with a figure of £100m-£200m being touted. ‘Realistically, 95% of cases settle before they get to trial, and that is arguably greater in the audit world,’ said Roland Ford, a partner at Stephenson Harwood.

The appeal comes as the troubled mutual prepares for what promises to be a confrontational agm. Paul Braithwaite, general secretary of the Equitable Members Action Group, said policyholders would oppose salary and bonus deals for Thomson.

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