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Standard prompts MPs to carry out major mutuals probe

The all-party building societies and financial mutuals group is preparing to launch an inquiry into the future of mutuals in financial services.

In the wake of Standard Life&#39s decision to demutualise, the group will look at whether regulation leads to demutualisation. It will look at whether the existence of mutual businesses have an effect on the products and behaviour of other businesses operating in the same markets and if mutuals work to combat social exclusion.

MPs will examine whe-ther mutuals offer services to markets not served by other businesses and whe-ther an organisation&#39s mut-ual status enables it to offer good value-for-money financial products.

A full summary of the group&#39s findings will be published in December to coincide with the work of the Treasury-sponsored Myners&#39 inquiry into the corp-orate governance of mutual insurance societies.

The inquiry holds its first session on October 11. There will be three sessions in total, during which evidence will be taken from witnesses within and outside the mutual sector, including submissions from the Consumers&#39 Association and Liverpool Victoria.

There are 164 members of the all-party group, inc-luding Conservative MP Howard Flight, Labour MP Andrew Love and Conservative MP John Butterfill.

Group chairman Labour MP Adrian Bailey says: “With mutual organisations coming under scru-tiny as never before, now is the time to examine in detail their contribution to the lives of their members and consumers. This will enable us to ensure that the sector is properly understood and is subject to an appropriate regulatory framework.”


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