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Sunday, 21 May, 2000, 02:43 GMT 03:43 UK
Insurer in renewed plc attack
Standard Life sign
The board warns against stock market flotation
The management of Standard Life has launched an advertising campaign in its attempt to stop stock market flotation.

So-called carpetbaggers have won a vote on proposals to demutualise, promising windfall payments of thousands of pounds to 2.3m policyholders if successful.

However the attempt has been countered by the board of Standard Life which said it would orchestrate a phased campaign of opposition ahead of the vote on 27 June in Edinburgh.

Fred Woollard
Fred Woollard: Promising major windfalls
Following a warning by managers that windfall payments could be a lot lower than expected, they have launched an advertising campaign and mail shot outlining the benefits of the Edinburgh-based insurer's current structure.

They said the 1.3m campaign urged all members to vote in the ballot at the company's special general meeting and have poured further scorn on the advances of the Standard Life Members' Action Group, led by the Australian fund manager Fred Woollard.

Managers asserted that the group has "no business case" for change to a plc and such a move would weaken Standard Life's position in the marketplace.

They also said the insurer's continuing high performance would mean "high returns" for policyholders and plc status would "dilute the rewards" available to its members.

'Careful consideration'

Group managing director, Scott Bell, said: "A great deal of careful consideration has gone into the implementation of an advertising campaign.

"We reached the conclusion that the campaign is essential if we are to communicate effectively with our 2.3m customers.

"It is the obligation of the board to make members aware of all the facts in the lead up to the vote on 27 June."

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See also:

28 Apr 00 | Business
The standard life of Fred Woollard
25 Apr 00 | Scotland
Boost for carpetbaggers' hopes
28 Feb 00 | Scotland
Standard Life repels boarders
09 Feb 00 | Business
Standard Life under attack
04 Jan 99 | The Company File
Building societies resist carpetbaggers
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