Anyone who knows Ned Cazalet will know he has a colourful turn of phrase. They will also know he has harried UK life companies over the years, berating them for poor business practices and a refusal to acknowledge the risks they were running, particuarly in their with profits funds.
Those risks became apparent in the end as Equitable Life crumbled under the weight of guaranteed annuity rates and Standard Life nearly imploded in the market downturn at the turn of the century. The Financial Services Authority brought in realistic solvency rules in response and the old system of sweeping things under the carpet and pretending they weren’t there was thrown out.
Mr Cazalet describes the change as “a massive improvement”. But it has clearly made his life too dull, as he is now gunning for defined benefit pension schemes, which he claims are life companies in disguise.