Equitable Life intends to decide the fate of the future of its remaining policyholders this year, inviting tenders for the transfer of its remaining policies.

Equitable, which claims it is now 'stable', still has a with-profits fund of £6.8 billion. Its excess assets at the end of 2007 stood at 621 million, after Equitable transferred its with-profits annuities to Prudential.

During 2007 the society achieved a return of 4% on its with-profits fund, with a net return of 1.9%. It says that policyholders will get at least their minimum guaranteed benefits when they are due, while policy values will be increased for UK with-profits pensions policies at a non-guaranteed rate of 5% per annum. There will be a non-guaranteed interim bonus this year of 5% per annum for these policies.

The society still faces legal action, although it came to a settlement with the remaining 401 annuitants from a group who started actions in 2004. It says that the cost of this was well within the provisions that it had put aside in expectation. But so far this year, 78 legal claims have been lodged in Germany.

Vanni Treves, Equitable Life's chairman, stressed that the society was at a 'crossroads' and would be considering the future of Equitable in the coming months.

Treves said: 'We can comfortably run the business off ourselves, but we are also in good shape for others to consider.  If one or more third parties can provide a better outlook for our policyholders than we can ourselves then we will recommend the best approach to our members.  Whatever the outcome, the next 12 months is the right time to address this question."