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Standard opens up

The publication of Standard Life&#39s report and accounts and FSA

returns may help settle some of the recent arguments about the

insurer&#39s financial position and investment strategy over the last

year.

It puts advisers in a better position to advise clients. The sheer

scale of the equity loss in the last few years, even if it is a paper

one, is staggering, although we have some sympathy with Standard&#39s

defence that for two years previously it had outperformed.

But it must be aware that pay increases for its top executives may

not play well with advisers&#39 clients, particularly when IFAs have to

explain payout cuts.

Mutuals need to pay competitively compared with their plc peers but

pay rises in difficult years could be seized on in any future

demutualisation battle.

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