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Standard Life members opt for demutualization

The policyholders of Edinburgh, UK-based mutual insurer Standard Life have voted to approve the firm's proposed IPO by an overwhelming majority.

Standard Life bosses were delighted that the vote returned a decisive verdict in favor of a float on the London Stock Exchange that is likely to value the firm at between GBP4.8 and GBP5.5 billion. More than 1.5 million members voted, with 98% backing the demutualization plan.

Standard Life needed at least 75% of votes cast to go in favor, and observers believed that a turnout of over a million in the poll would ensure sufficient support across policyholders. Both targets were easily achieved.

Speaking to delegates at a meeting in the Scots capital to reveal the results, Standard Life’s chairman Sir Brian Stewart said: Today is a historic day for Standard Life…we believe it will provide significantly more opportunity for the development of Standard Life and is in the best interests of members, customers and policy holders.

The insurer’s policyholders – totaling around 2.4 million – are set to receive an average windfall of around GBP1,700 under the float’s terms. The insurer has several times before resisted calls to demutualize but the slump in equities and falling sales in the wake of investment mis-selling scandals in recent years mean an IPO is now an attractive means for the group to raise capital.