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Standard&#39s mutuality stalwarts step down

Standard Life managing director Scott Bell, stalwart of the company&#39s

mutuality stance, is retiring in March next year after more than 40 years

at the life office.

Long-term colleague and chief executive of UK operations Jim Stretton is

also standing down. He will take early retirement on December 15.

Current group finance director and appointed actuary Iain Lumsden will

take over as group chief executive.

Standard Life Investments chief executive Sandy Crombie will become deputy

group chief executive. His replacement for the investment business has yet

to be announced.

Both appointments are to take effect from March 16.

Bell joined Standard in 1958 and worked his way up the company to become

group managing director in 1988. Stretton has been Bell&#39s right-hand man

since 1988. He joined Standard as a graduate in 1965.

Bell and Stretton were resolutely behind keeping Standard mutual and saw

it through its most fraught campaign against the carpetbaggers last year

led by Australian businessman Fred Woollard.

Lumsden looks set to take on a more open approach than his famously

tight-lipped predecessor although he too is a long-standing Standard

figure. He joined the company as a graduate in 1967 and has been

group finance director since 1994.

Lumsden says he does not believe in mutuality for mutuality&#39s sake but

says there is no current reason to demutualise. Running out of capital or

receiving a substantial takeover bid are the only reasons he considers

would make the company give up its mutual status.

Lumsden says IFAs should not expect radical change at the

company and that it remains committed to the IFA channel.

He plans to expand the business in Europe and sees Standard&#39s investment

business as key to its future success.

He says: “We are not mystics. We do not believe in mutuality for its own

sake. Our sole purpose is produce the best possible returns for our

policyholders. We have got to have a reason to demutualise and we have

enough capital for the foreseeable future.”

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