Edinburgh-based insurance group Standard Life plans to demutualise, pending a vote of its members, some of whom could be due a windfall of over £1,000 should the move go ahead.
If 75 per cent of its qualifying policyholders return "Yes" votes, the company will float its stocks at between 240 and 290 pence each, giving Standard Life an expected initial value of £5 billion and reducing the risks to profit investors.
Emma Wylie, spokesperson for Standard Life, said: "The board is very confident that more than 75 per cent of the members will vote in favour of the demutualisation."
She rejected criticisms that since the original talk of flotation in 2001, and the latest round of discussions in 2004, the company has not made it clear that it has the financial ability to handle the change.
"In 2001, Standard Life refused an attempt to force a float because at that time the stock market was falling," Ms Wylie continued. "Since then the circumstances have changed. The company has made significant progress in the last two years."
Contrary to reports that the insurer had been guarded on the demutualisation move since it was put forward again two years ago, Ms Wylie argued that policyholders had been kept up to date at every stage.
"Since 2004, Standard Life has used extensive methods of communication to inform its members about the benefits of a demutualisation. We haven't been keeping our members in the dark at all," she concluded.
The voting period is set to conclude at the end of May and the results will be announced shortly afterwards.To read more about investments, click here.
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