Rebels fall out in Standard Life conversion drama

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The Independent Online

The campaign to make the insurance giant Standard Life account for its actions during the recent demutualisation battle took a twist yesterday when the leading rebels fell out among themselves.

The campaign to make the insurance giant Standard Life account for its actions during the recent demutualisation battle took a twist yesterday when the leading rebels fell out among themselves.

The struggle broke out as Mike Anthony, an Edinburgh-based policyholder who has set up the Standard Life Alliance for Members, or Slam, vowed to table fresh conversion resolutions if the mutual does not provide key information which it has so far consistently refused to disclose.

However, Mr Anthony has been urged by Gordon Hart, the businessman who says he has amassed support from 800 members through his website, to end his campaign.

It emerged yesterday that Fred Woollard, the Monaco-based carpetbagger who led an unsuccessful attack on Standard Life earlier this year, has also put pressure on Mr Anthony to stand down.

Mr Anthony, who works part time for a charity for the homeless and says he is not a carpetbagger, said: "I have spoken to Fred Woollard a few times on the phone and he has asked me not to go ahead."

Mr Woollard said in June that he was bowing out of the demutualisation battle after the majority of Standard Life members voted to retain the insurance group's mutuality.

However, Mr Woollard, who is currently in Monaco, has posted messages encouraging Mr Hart on internet discussion boards.

Mr Woollard said yesterday: "I endorse Gordon Hart's campaign and hope he succeeds where I failed."

Mr Hart, who leads the Members' Rights Campaign, yesterday said he is considering bringing a legal challenge against Standard Life over arguments it used during the bruising battle to remain mutual. Mr Hart was accompanied by Jonathan Stone, a solicitor and barrister, when he met Standard Life.

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