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Conversion resolution threat to Standard Life’s mutual status

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  • 01/03/2000
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Standard Life has become the latest organisation to have its mutuality threatened through a member r...

Standard Life has become the latest organisation to have its mutuality threatened through a member requisition to convert.

On 9 February the company received a conversion resolution submitted by a Mr Fred Woollard, a with profits member of Standard Life. With the support of 89 other members, the former fund manager is calling on the mutual insurer to convert to plc status and distribute windfalls to with profits members.

Gordon Arthur, director of corporate affairs at Standard Life, said its bank customers will not be eligible to vote.

He said: “Standard Life Bank is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the life insurance business so bank customers are not members.”

However, customers holding the with profits endowment that was withdrawn from the market seven years ago or Home Plan, the unitised equivalent that replaced it, will qualify.

While Woollard did muster sufficient support from members, the outcome of his campaign still hangs in the balance, so Standard Life was unwilling to discuss the future ownership of the company.

“We have passed the requisitions to our legal advisers and until we receive advice we will not begin to contemplate the action of the board. At this stage, we do not know if there will be a vote. Should the need for a vote arise we will then communicate with our members,” said Arthur.

Rumour has suggested that the campaign was initiated by Carpetbagger.com, but its spokesperson Richard Yendall denied there is a campaign against mutual insurers.

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