120 Blythswood Road
Ilford IG3 8SG

Email: andy.walker@talk21.com
Tel: 07956 263088

Dear CIS or Standard Life policyholder

If you are a With Profits policyholder with either Co-Operative Insurance Society (CIS) or Standard Life you may be able to lodge an adjourned claim at the County Court pending the result of my cases against CIS and Standard Life. I strongly advise this is done through a legal expenses insurance cover as I would not would any policyholder to expose themselves to a loss by spending money on legal fees.

For the avoidance of doubt, please do not pay for legal advice on this point, but if you think my argument makes sense, consider contacting any legal expenses cover you might have with a building insurance policy or elsewhere to see if your insurer will support an adjourned claim at no risk to yourself.

I am encouraging policyholders to lodge adjourned claims because CIS and Standard Life are refusing to pay my legal costs. My cases appears to be one of a general application which is likely to have an impact on how With Profits funds are managed.

Equitable Life funded the Hyman case because of its general application, if other policyholders submit adjourned claims my argument that Standard Life and CIS should fund my legal expenses and so increase my chances of winning will be stronger.

I have/have had my personal pension, mortgage endowments and children's savings in the CIS With Profits fund. I allege CIS and Standard Life unlawfully paid substantial sums in commissions. My argument is that these pension providers have all paid commissions in excess of the statutory 1%/1.5% cap on stakeholder pension policies. Should this argument fail, I say the commissions were so high as to be a negligent waste of capital and finally that the Equitable Life precedent makes high stakeholder pension commissions unlawful as it amounts to a unlawful differential bonus with stakeholder pension policyholders receiving preferential treatment. CIS estimate my claim at more than £5000 should I win.

Some pension providers such as Direct Line and Allied Dunbar did not go down the route of paying commissions in excess of the 1% cap on stakeholder pensions.

On another issue I say the CIS practice of no longer paying annual bonuses on personal pensions is unlawful. Janet Walford has written about this issue regarding Scottish Widows at ww2.ftbusiness.com/ftablog/?cat=2 in her July 2008 article Help! My bonus has been SWiped.

I lost the first hearing at Central London County Court, but have been granted leave to appeal. A hearing about whether the CIS have to disclose stakeholder pension accounts will be held at the High Court. A three day window commencing 19 November 2008 will take place before the appeal hearing.

I enclose a copies of the judgment at the Central London County Court along with the CIS witness statement earlier this year (click on the pdf downloads - top right of this page). My arguments did not impress District Judge Lightman. However, an ex-CIS agent, Mr Harrison, did win a declaration by an employment tribunal that the CIS had an unlawful holiday pay arrangement. However, the first tribunal to hear the case struck it with costs awarded against Mr Harrison. Mr Harrison's success motivated me to commence my action against the CIS as it shows that individuals whose legal budgets are tiny in comparison with large corporations can win. The Tribunal judgment is available at www.agentsholidaypay.co.uk.

Yours sincerely

Andy Walker