Two more former Equitable directors settle

Equitable Life this morning (Monday 10 October) dropped its negligence claim against two more former directors of the assurance society, leaving 11 individuals still embroiled in litigation.

The two directors concerned are former Equitable company secretary Roger Bowley, represented by Fox Williams, and former non-executive David Wilson, represented by Ince & Co.

Under the terms of the settlement each side will pay its own costs, although Equitable has agreed to pay Wilson some costs incurred earlier in the proceedings. Wilson’s are understood to be considerably higher than Bowley’s; his legal team included Ince partner Bob Deering, consultant George Kennedy, and Wilberforce Chambers’ Jules Sher QC. Sher is among the few barristers with earnings of more than £2m a year.

Gavin Foggo of Fox Williams said that Bowley had been “completely exonerated” by Equitable abandoning the claim. He added: “This action was an unsuccessful and oppressive attept by a large financial institution to pressurise Ernst & Young into paying a large cash sum.”

Wilson said that he regretted the enormous sums of policyholders’ money wasted in the pursuit of the litigation.

Equitable settled its case with former auditors Ernst & Young on 22 September.

Foggo instructed 3 Verulam Buildings’ Christopher Symons QC for Bowley. Fox Williams is also acting for David Thomas, who is still involved in litigation.

Herbert Smith partner Julian Copeman and 20 Essex Street’s Iain Milligan QC are acting for Equitable.