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Myners&#39 probe to look at non-execs

Paul Myners&#39 report into the governance of mutual life off-ices will also look at the role of non-executive directors both in mutuals and prop-rietary life offices.

The consultation, published last week, will examine the role of policyholders and regulation in the governance of mutual life offices and the structure of the UK mutual life insurance market.

But it will also look at issues arising from Lord Penrose&#39s report into Equitable Life which relate to the role of non-executive directors in complex businesses, whether in mutuals or in plcs.

The review&#39s terms of reference are to bring forward recommendations to ensure that boards of mutual life off-ices are as accountable to their members as boards of comparable companies are to their shareholders.

Myners is also consulting on the potential advantages of the mutual form, particularly in the financial services sector, the market disciplines that influence mutual life off-ices and how they work in other countries.

Myners, currently chairman of Guardian Media Group and interim chairman of Marks & Spencer, will deliver a report with recommendations by the end of this year. In 2000, he was commissioned by the Treasury to lead a review of institutional investment in the UK.

Myners says: “Mutual life offices are a sizeable presence in the market for life insurance in the UK. My challenge is to promote in this sector the very best corporate governance practice, providing a sound basis for its future health and prosperity.”

Scottish Life group head of communications Alasdair Buchanan says: “Life insurance businesses are more complex than many other businesses and it is interesting that Myners is concerned at the role that non-executive directors play, regardless of whether they are mutuals or not.”

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