175 year old Standard Life, Europe’s biggest mutual life insurance company, will remain just that. In a special meeting which counted the votes of some 1.1 million of its 2.3 million members (policyholders) the proposal to demutalize, made by Monaco based financier Fred Wollard, was decisively rejected with 54.3 percent against it and only 45.7 percent in favor.
Woollard, who had led the fight to demutualize, and had estimated that members would receive an average payment distribution of £6000 ($9000) needed at least a 75 percent majority to implement the proposal. On learning the results he told the BBC, “We have always said that we would not continue the conversion fight if the majority of the members voted to retain the company’s mutual status.”
Standard life thus proves the exception to the recent rash of demutualizations around the world. In order to win the battle its management spent an estimated £10 million ($15 million), and promised members more effective communications and transparent accounting in the future.
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