§ 11. Mr. Denham
To ask the President of the Board of Trade in what circumstances a life assurance company is required to submit quarterly reports to his Department.
§ Mr. Neil Hamilton
The power to require insurance companies to furnish information, including the submission of quarterly returns, may be exercised on any of the grounds set out in the Insurance Companies Act 1982. This power is most frequently used following authorisation or change of control.
§ Mr. Denham
Will the Minister confirm that Guardian —formerly Guardian Royal Exchange—is under constant review by his Department? Is he aware that some endowment policies sold by that company see £7 of growth in the life fund bringing only 70p of benefit to investors? Is it not one of the worst performing companies in the country and does not its appalling record of bad management and bad investment highlight another failure in the regulatory system for personal financial services? The Minister's Department monitors solvency and the regulatory organisations monitor marketing—why does no one ensure that the public get a fair deal?
§ Mr. Hamilton
As the hon. Gentleman knows, it has been a long-standing practice of the Department of Trade and Industry—including the period when we had a Labour Government, if the hon. Gentleman's memory goes back that far—not to reveal the nature of its regulatory contact with individual companies.