The start of the new year saw the end of Equitable Life after a deal to buy the remaining business of the world's oldest member-owned insurance group was completed on New Year's Eve.
At midnight, its policyholders transferred to Utmost Life and Pensions after most of them accepted an offer of £9,000 each on average in return for giving up guarantees on the value of their contracts.
Utmost agreed to buy Equitable's remaining business in June 2018 for £1.8bn- a deal that covers more than 300,000 policyholders and £6bn in assets. However, it has taken 18 months to win the approval of policyholders, regulators, and the courts.
Everything took a bit longer than expected"
The deal covers more than 300,000 policyholders and around £6bn of assets .However, it not include Irish and German policies. Those will remain with Equitable Life, which has become a subsidiary of Utmost.
"Everything took a bit longer than expected," Ian Maidens, chief financial officer of Utmost, told the FT. "Everything associated with Equitable gets that extra bit of attention because it has been a high-profile problem child for the best part of 20 years."
"People were better off with the uplift," Maidens said. "The uplift gives away the capital of [Equitable]."
Savers will be notified of the exact value of of their new policies by the end of January 2020.
Equitable dated back to 1762. It came close to collapse in 2000 in one of the UK's biggest financial scandals, costing its policyholders millions of pounds and prompting a raft of inquiries from the government, regulators and the European Parliament.