Standard Life gets a champion

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The battle for Standard Life heated up yesterday, after a group of members launched a pro-mutual campaign andwarned carpetbaggers to be prepared for a "robust" fight.

The new group said it will be less "gentlemanly" than Standard Life's board, which is currently trying to ward off attempts by carpetbaggers to persuade members to vote for conversion of Europe's largest mutual life insurer to a public company on 27 June.

The group - who are entirely independent of Standard Life - vowed to discredit Fred Woollard, the Monaco-based carpetbagger by highlighting what his personal gain will be if Standard Life becomes a plc.

Stewart Stevenson, a former director of the Bank of Scotland, is heading the Standard Life Members Organisation, who launched its campaign over the internet at yesterday.