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‘Demutualisation will make firm leaner and more efficient’

Demutualisation will ensure that Standard Life is a leaner, more efficient business and will not affect its ability to write new business, says UK life and pensions chief executive Trevor Matthews.

He says any fears that management will take their eye off the ball are unfounded and the group has set up an internal demutualisation committee to oversee the transition.

Matthews and other divisional heads are not on the demutualisation committee, which enables them to focus on their own specific areas.

He oversaw Manulife’s demutualisation in Canada prior to his appointment at Standard Life.

At last week’s all-party Parliamentary building societies and financial mutuals’ group short inquiry report, several MPs blamed Standard’s directors for the firm’s demutualisation rather than regulation.

Matthews says this is an oversimplification and that the role of regulatory change in the board’s decision to float should not be underestimated.

He says: “It is more complicated than that. I know the market has gone through major changes and this has impacted on all companies differently. I know from experience that it is crucial we keep our eye on the ball and my priority is to keep me and my people as far away from demutualisation as possible.”

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