As anticipation grows that the government will be announcing a compensation package for Equitable Life tomorrow (Thursday), so does the fear that we will be looking well into 2011 before a line is finally drawn under this sorry affair.
The trailing of the government's announcement suggests that it will confirm the recommendation of the Parliamentary Ombudsman, Ann Abraham, that an independent tribunal should be set up to deal with this. Why?
Ms Abraham estimated that it would take six months to set and I have heard enough to make me believe that it will take this long and that it will be a fraught process as there is endless scope for argument about who should be on it. I hope the government is more sensible than this and uses the obvious existing mechanism - the Financial Services Compensation Scheme. It is already there, it works and it works a good deal faster than the estimated two years it would take a newly constituted compensation tribunal to complete the task once it has been set up.
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