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Standard Life has won the day say critics

Speculation is rife today that Standard Life has won the battle against carpetbagger Fred Woollard to retain its mutuality.

Early reports of the count claim that the life office has secured a narrow majority of the vote. This result would confound critics who have predicted the final result would be much closer.

The official announcement will not be made public until tomorrow&#39s special general meeting in Edinburgh.

According to Standard Life&#39s constitution, 75 per cent of policyholders must vote in favour of conversion in order for demutualisation to proceed.

Both sides have fought a bitter campaign in recent months trying to convince policyholders of their message. Woollard has promised windfalls of up to £5,000, while Standard Life has tried to hammer home the point that mutuality will benefit future generations of policyholders.

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