New Year sees the end of Equitable Life

Twenty years on from its near collapse, the Equitable Life saga is finally drawing to a close.

FacebooktwitterlinkedinmailFacebooktwitterlinkedinmail   by Jeannie Boyle, 17th January 2020

The start of the New Year saw the end of Equitable Life after a deal to buy the remaining business of the 250-year-old insurer was completed on New Year’s Eve.

Utmost, a life & pension firm that specialises in the acquisition of so-called zombie funds which have closed to new business, agreed to buy Equitable’s remaining business – a deal which covers more than 300,000 policyholders and £6 billion in assets.

At its peak, Equitable Life had 1.5 million policyholders who trusted it with £26bn. Parts of the business have been offloaded to other insurers in recent years.

Equitable Life – what went wrong

The problems with Equitable Life stemmed from the ambitious promises it made to policyholders during the 60s, 70s & 80s that it couldn’t afford to keep. It offered high rates of return which, by the 90s, became unaffordable, owing to falls in interest rates and inflation. This led to cuts in bonuses and by July 2000 the insurer was unable to meet its obligations and stopped accepting new business.

What now for Equitable Life policyholders?

Following approval of the Equitable Life-Utmost proposal, if you’re an Equitable Life policyholder, you’ll need to make some decisions about what happens to your money.

Questions you might want help on include:

  • What next for your retirement plans?
  • Are you thinking about taking tax-free cash or income from your pension?
  • Is Utmost the right home for your pension long term?

EQ Investors are happy to offer a free, one-hour financial planning consultation (either in person or by phone) to discuss your Equitable Life with-profits policy and wider circumstances. All initial meetings are offered on a fully confidential, no obligation basis.

Contact our team

Please feel free to give us a call on 020 7488 7171 or email us at, alternatively, you can book an appointment here.



About the author: Jeannie Boyle

Jeannie has been working in financial services for over 10 years. She joined EQ in 2008 as a Technical Consultant and since 2010 has been a Director of the firm. When providing advice, Jeannie focuses on clear communication, so that her clients fully understand the facts, options and recommended solutions, enabling them to make well-informed decisions. As a Director, Jeannie concentrates her efforts on ensuring the advice provided across EQ is of an exceptional standard, putting in place processes and systems to ensure our clients remain at the heart of our business. Jeannie is a Chartered Financial Planner, a Fellow of the Personal Finance Society and in 2015 won Money Management’s Ethical Financial Planner of the Year Award. She appears regularly in national and trade media outlets discussing personal finance issues. Outside of work, Jeannie enjoys yoga, hiking, triathlons and live music.

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