The complicated tale of Freshfields, Lovells, Bloxham and Equitable

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer and its former co-head of restructuring Peter Bloxham made the headlines again today. “Plus ça change,” you might say.

The sprightly 54-year-old Bloxham, you will remember, is the main protagonist in the ongoing pensions saga that sees him suing his former employer for age discrimination. The case is slated to be heard in early summer.

It is, then, pure poetry that Bloxham has found a new job as a policyholder advocate at the Prudential the day the insurer instructed none other than Freshfields on a landmark deal with Equitable Life – another name that has seen its fair share of court action in the last few years. See story.

The Pru will take on Equitable’s book of with-profits annuities. This particular type of policy may ring a bell with readers regarding a slight bit of bother Equitable had in the courts for most of the last decade.

But that’s by the by – and the complexity doesn’t get ironed out there.

It’s the Pru’s with-profits portfolio that will come under scrutiny by Bloxham in his new role as ‘policyholder advocate’. The hope is that a £9bn surplus in Pru’s life fund will be reattributed to policyholders.

Norton Rose is advising Bloxham as the policyholder advocate, while Lovells is representing the Pru on the potential reattribution.

Lovells, of course, being fresh off advising Equitable on the aforementioned annuity deal with the Pru.

Got that? Oh, do keep up.