HC Deb 11 June 1912 vol 39 cc825-6W

asked the Secretary to the Treasury the result of further inquiry into the affairs of Ireland's Life Assurance Society; what is the meaning of the society's alleged assets and liabilities amounting to exactly the same sum; whether he has noticed that there is nothing even alleged to be available to meet the contracts with insured persons and that this liability is not treated as a liability at all; whether deposits,£390, appearing in the cash account, is in fact a liability, though not included in the alleged liabilities; if there is any other instance on record in which the management expenses were 92.4 per cent. of the premiums and the total expenses more than 100 per cent. of the total income; whether the persons insured with the body so distinguished ever recovered their money; if he will say who holds Mr. Saunderson's alleged £200 and Mr. Butter's alleged bond, which are only security alleged to exist for the premiums of 6,000 persons; whether, in view of the studied confusion of the accounts and of the facts they fail to conceal, Thomas Scott will be allowed to continue as an auditor appointed by the Treasury; and whether the Chief Registrar of Friendly Societies certifies this as a society which ought to be allowed to collect money?


The Assistant Registrar of Friendly Societies for Ireland is making inquiries of the society as to various matters in which the Annual Return for 1911 (which was only delivered on 24th May) does not appear to be in order, and he will bear in mind the points raised by the hon. Member's question. It had already been observed that the prospective liability to meet the contracts with insured persons is not stated in the Annual Return as a liability. The balance-sheet in the Annual Return is a statement of the present funds and effects, and is not intended to be more. It is not unusual for the management expenses to be extremely heavy in the early years of an insurance society. The Registrar of Friendly Societies is not aware who holds the officers' securities. Mr. Thomas Scott is no longer a public auditor. With regard to the remaining parts of the question, the hon. Member appears to be under a misapprehension as to the powers and duties of the Registrar of Friendly Societies. It is not within his power or duty to certify societies as to solvency or respectability. His duty is to register all societies which apply for registry and which comply with the requirements of the Friendly Societies Act, 1896, and the Treasury Regulations; and, in the case of collecting societies (to which class this society belongs), with the additional requirements of the Collecting Societies and Industrial Assurance Companies Act, 1896.