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Cazalet tells MPs that Standard’s woes are due to bad management

Independent insurance consultant Ned Cazalet has told a Parliamentary comm- ittee that previous bad management at Standard Life is to blame for its capital problems and not its mutual status.

Questioned at the all-party Parliamentary group for building societies & financial mutuals about why Standard needed to demutualise, Cazalet said it was a flawed argument that its capital problems were a result of mutuality.

He said: “The mutual status was not the cause of Stan- dard Life’s problems but its current status means it has to happen.

Cazalet used the example of Royal London as evidence that a mutual can prosper in today’s environment.

He believes that demutualisation as the best way forward for the insurer and claimed that Standard faces challenges next spring in adapting to a regime where profitability has to be declared.

He said that recent senior management changes at Standard were essential for the market to take the com- pany seriously and he exp- ects the life office to continue moving away from with-profits into more profitable markets.

“The recent management changes were essential or else, when it came to market, it would have been a case of: ‘Honey, I shrunk the life office,” said CazaletWhich? principal policy adviser Mick McAteer told the committee that the FSA must do more to oversee the demutualisation process to ensure it is fair to consumers.

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