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EQUITABLE POLICYHOLDERS OVERWHELMINGLY APPROVE PLAN TO CONVERT TO A PUBLIC COMPANY; 92.3 PERCENT VOTE 'YES'

EQUITABLE POLICYHOLDERS OVERWHELMINGLY APPROVE PLAN TO CONVERT TO A
 PUBLIC COMPANY; 92.3 PERCENT VOTE 'YES'
 NEW YORK, May 7 /PRNewswire/ -- Policyholders of The Equitable Life Assurance Society of the United States overwhelmingly put their stamp of approval on the company's plan to convert from mutual to stock ownership. The decisive vote represents a significant milestone in the company's demutualization plan.
 A total of 92.3 percent of policyholders who cast ballots voted 'yes' -- a strong mandate for demutualization. This amounts to a total of 819,964 policyholders voting in favor of the plan out of the 888,338 who returned ballot cards.
 "The policyholders have made their voice heard loud and clear," stated Richard H. Jenrette, chairman and chief executive officer. "They want an Equitable that is financially stronger, they want a company that has new opportunities to raise capital -- and they favor public ownership of The Equitable."
 He continued: "We have looked at the long-term implications of being a stock company versus a mutual and we believe that, strategically, demutualization is the best route for The Equitable. Converting to a public company will be a significant advantage in managing our future growth."
 Jenrette noted that the vote response rate was exceptionally high relative to the 2.2 million eligible policyholders who received ballots.
 "This decisive demonstration of support and interest on the part of policyholders is immensely important as we prepare to complete the process of becoming a shareholder-owned company," he said.
 The final important step in that process is an initial public offering of stock, expected this summer.
 The Voting Process.
 The Equitable made the announcement of the vote tally today following certification of the results by the New York State Insurance Department, which supervised the vote. The voting process was completed May 6.
 An affirmative vote by at least two-thirds of the policyholders who cast ballots was necessary for the demutualization plan to move ahead. In order to be eligible to vote, policyholders were required to have been the owner on Nov. 27, 1991, of a life, health or disability policy or annuity contract issued by Equitable Life Assurance Society of the United States. That was the date on which the company's board of directors approved the plan.
 Sequence of Events.
 Equitable first announced its intention to develop a conversion plan in December 1990. In July 1991, the large French insurer AXA invested $1 billion in Equitable through the purchase of notes that will be exchanged for Equitable stock upon demutualization.
 The announcement of the vote tabulation today comes shortly after completion of a public hearing on the plan. An affirmative ruling by the New York State Insurance Department is the next step before demutualization takes place.
 Informing the Policyholders.
 Jenrette emphasized that Equitable's conversion to a stock company will not change policy values, premiums or guarantees in any way, and dividend-paying policies will continue to receive dividends as declared. In addition, all eligible policyholders will receive compensation in the form of stock, cash or policy credits.
 About Demutualization and the Equitable.
 The conversion is the largest in the history of the United States and is the first under New York State's demutualization law, passed in 1988.
 The Equitable manages $145 billion in assets and is among the nation's leading life insurers and investment managers, providing a variety of financial services to both consumers and businesses. Equitable is one of the largest life insurance companies in the United States as measured by statutory admitted assets.
 -0- 5/7/92
 /CONTACT: Nancy Amiel of Equitable Life Assurance Society of the United States, 212-554-4293/ CO: The Equitable Life Assurance Society of the United States ST: New York IN: INS SU:


SH -- NY097 -- 7762 05/07/92 15:39 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:May 7, 1992
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