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Bagger says he will be back as Standard rejects his resolution

Standard Life carpetbagger David Stonebanks has vowed to press on with his demutualisation campaign and intends to be visiting the insurer again before the year is out.

His vow to persist with the campaign follows Standard&#39s rejection of his first request for a special meeting to vote on demutualisation, with the insurer stating that his resolutions were invalid and could not be put to members.

Stonebanks, a retired lecturer from Herfordshire, needed 1,000 correctly completed request forms and handed over 2,317, of which 1,420 were valid. But the wording of his resolution brought the rejection by Standard.

The company&#39s decision came as its independent research shows 72 per cent of IFAs support retaining mutuality, along with the majority of members, with only a fifth of members interested in demutualising.

Stonebanks, who has not had legal help in his demutualisation bid, says he was realistic that this would be the biggest hurdle and is now writing to Standard Life to establish what was wrong with the resolution.

He is dismissive of Standard Life&#39s research on support for mutuality, believing that there are a lot more than 20 per cent of policyholders who are keen to get shares,a position that may be helped by reports that Standard is expected to cut bonus pay-outs to with-profits policyholders again this week.

Standard Life chairman Sir Brian Stewart says: “We are naturally concerned that Mr Stonebanks&#39 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.”

Stonebanks says: “There are £6bn-worth of shares at stake. It has got to be worth trying again. They are saying that only 20 per cent of the members would support demutualisation, well then, put it to the vote, what&#39s the problem?”

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