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Last Updated: Monday, 28 July, 2003, 12:12 GMT 13:12 UK
Standard Life rejects demutualisation bid
Standard Life
Latest attempt to force demutualisation 'blocked'

UK life insurer Standard Life has thrown out the latest attempt by a carpetbagger to force the mutual to go public, the company has said.

Standard Life was facing a demutualisation bid from retired lecturer David Stonebanks, just weeks after a period protecting the mutual from carpetbaggers ran out.

A Standard Life spokesman said it had rejected the request to hold a Special General Meeting to ballot members on the mutual's status, because the resolutions were not legally valid.

Mr Stonebanks, however, told BBC News Online he would continue to fight on and was predicting a new attempt by Christmas.

Fight continues

In a statement, Standard Life said: "The Company has been advised, by independent legal counsel, that none of the resolutions set out in the request are valid. As a result, the Board cannot put the resolutions to members."

We must now get on with the running of the Company
Sir Brian Stewart, Chairman of Standard Life

Mr Stonebanks, who did not consult lawyers in the drafting of the resolutions, said the decision was a "disappointment but not entirely unexpected".

He must now go through the process of collecting at least 1,000 signatures, which are needed for a new bid.

"I would have thought three months from now, by Christmas, I would have thought I will have another ride up there [to Edinburgh] and try again", he told BBC News Online.

In 2000 Standard Life beat an attempt by another carpetbagger, called Fred Woollard.

Sir Brian Stewart, Chairman of Standard Life, called on Mr Stonebanks to end his campaign.

He said: "We are naturally concerned that Mr Stonebanks' activities are disrupting the business and ask him to consider seriously what is to be gained by continuing to pursue his attempts to force a demutualisation against the clear wishes of the membership.

"We do not want to incur the substantial cost and management time involved in a battle over the status of the Company, which we believe members do not want to change.

"We must now get on with the running of the Company."

Standard Life in new mutual fight
01 Jul 03  |  Business

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