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Overwhelming vote for Friends to demutualise

Friends Provident has become the latest mutual to get the go-ahead to demutualise after members voted massively in favour of its flotation proposal.

The life office is set to float on the Stock Exchange on July 9. Each member will be given at least 200 shares which could be worth between £470 and £540 on float. It is expecting only a small proportion to cash in their shares immediately.

The life office is looking for a big share of the stakeholder market but also has plans for new bond products.

Around 65 per cent of its 1.7 million members voted at the extraordinary general meeting last week and 97 per cent were in favour of the proposal to demutualise.

The proposal has to get court approval before the life office can issue a prospectus for the float. The prospectus is expected to be issued by June 12.

Scottish Provident is next in line for demutualisation, with members due to vote at its EGM on June 14. Members will receive fixed compensation of £500 for loss of membership rights and with-profits policyholders will get additional benefits.

Scottish Life members also voted overwhelmingly for demutualisation at its EGM in Edinburgh two weeks ago. It will now become the IFA arm of mutual office Royal London.

The office will look to strengthen its position in the IFA market and has not ruled out a move into protection.

Friends Provident chairman David Newbigging says: “We are delighted the demutualisation and flotation proposal has received such a resounding endorsement from our members. We now look forward to listing on the London Stock Exchange and having our members and customers share in our future as shareholders.”

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