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PERSPECTIVE

A medium-sized life office, NPI has found it impossible to shake off rumours that it is about to demutualise at a time when life offices with similar problems, such as Scottish Amicable, are being taken over.

It has been a turbulent few years for NPI.

April 1998: NPI announces a £260m securitisation deal.

February 1998: NPI introduces a performance-related pay scheme linking pay to policyholder value to assert its mutual status.

September 1998: NPI embarks on a major overhaul of its company structure by stripping out a layer of management in a bid to improve IFA service.

June 1998: Alastair Lyons is appointed chief executive. He comes from Abbey National and is charged with boosting NPI&#39s performance and financial strength.

April 1998: NPI is at the centre of intense speculation that it will be the next mutual to be taken over in the wake of the Prudential&#39s £2.8bn acquisition of Scottish Amicable. AMP is thought to have looked at its books but made no offer.

Summer 1998: NPI attempts to boost its free-asset ratio with a £100m subordinated bond issue.

Also: NPI has made attempts to merge with Clerical Medical and Friends Provident but the talks broke down due to rows about management structure.

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