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Standard: End of mutuality?

May 2000: Independent insurance analyst Ned Cazalet says Standard Life would be worth £16bn if it demutualised.

June 2000: Standard Life sees off carpetbagger Fred Woollard, with 53.4 per cent of the 1.1 million policyholder vote supporting continued mutuality.

December 2001: Iain Lumsden takes over as chief executive following the retirement of Scott Bell.

May 2002: Finance director John Hylands says with-profits will change for the better as a result of the FSA&#39s review.

August 2002: Cazalet claims Standard&#39s reserves have plummeted from £10bn to just £2bn

November 2002: Standard cuts the equity exposure of its £35bn with-profits fund to 53 per cent from 71 per cent in September 2001 – still a higher proportion than most rivals.

February 2003: Standard asks the FSA for a solvency waiver but says it is not close to breaching solvency margins.

March 2003: In an attempt to look more open, the mutual begins publishing its report, accounts and FSA returns in a similar fashion to plcs.

March 2003: Standard hits out at rivals for manipulating free-asset ratios and admits to an investment loss of £4bn.

July 2003: The mutual faces carpetbagger David Stonebanks, whose demutualisation efforts fail because of the wording of his resolution.

August 2003: Standard releases a formal statement declaring it has no intention of closing its with-profits funds and is considering launching a new range in the next year.

January 2004: Standard enters into negotiations with the FSA over implementing WP reforms.

January 2004: Standard launches a strategic review of its mutual status, leading many to conclude that it will demutualise. Chief executive Iain Lumsden retires with immediate effect and is replaced replaced by Standard Life Investments chief executive Sandy Crombie.

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