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Standard revamps membership rules

Standard Life is proposing changes to its membership rules, giving one member one vote and changing how directors are elected but increasing the number of members needed to call an EGM.

The move follows criticism of Standard over its membership rules after it fought off a demutualisation campaign last year. The last revision of rules took place in April 1994.

It is proposing to introduce a system of one vote for each eligible member. Standard currently has 62,000 members who have more than one vote arising from holding joint policies.

More controversially, Standard also suggests an increase in the number of members required to call a company meeting to 1,000 from 50.

Standard says this is more proportionate to its 2.4 million members and will the limit the potential for a small group to cause the firm to incur costs involved with such meetings.

The proposals also suggest a new system for electing directors. The current system has been criticised as as undemocratic.

These changes would mean that members can vote on each candidate proposed and the board will be filled by candidates with the highest number of votes. Details of the proposals will be sent out in advance of Standard&#39s AGM in April 2002, with voting to take place at the meeting.

Ronnie Sloan, a consulting actuary who stood for the board this year, says: “It is important that draft proposals are released shortly as otherwise there will be no opportunity for interested parties to have any input.

“While these are obviously steps in the right direction, Standard still falls short on accountability.”

Carpetbagger Fred Woollard says: “Raising the number of members to 1,000 does not present an insurmountable obstacle. The company does have a strong anti-democratic bias. Members should look at the proposals very carefully before voting.”


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