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Personal Finance: Wake up call to a million investors.

Up to a million members of Standard Life are at risk of missing out on windfalls by failing to return key documents ahead of the insurer's landmark flotation.

Standard Life said 40 per cent of its 2.4 million members had not sent back confirmation of their policy and contact details since it announced plans to demutualise last month.

Analysts expect windfall payments to be worth between pounds 500 and pounds 1,000 even though Standard Life has said it is too early to put an exact value on them.

But the potential payouts could rise if members do not return the validation form before the flotation takes place, probably in July.

Standard Life needs 75 per cent of members to vote in favour of a stock market listing if it is bring to an end nearly 80 years of life as a mutual, with a special general meeting likely to be held at the end of May.

Details of the windfall payments will be sent to members around six weeks in advance of the vote taking place.

It is expected that the majority of people with a with-profits policy with Standard Life will receive free shares in exchange for giving up their membership of the company.

This means they will no longer have the right to vote at annual general meetings, unless they retain their shares, as the company will be owned by its shareholders.

They will also no longer be entitled to so-called benefits of mutuality payments, although in practice the company no longer pays these following the introduction of a new reporting regime and a decline in its with-profits fund.

A number of members will not receive free shares and they will instead be given cash or policy enhancements.

The group said these members tend to be people who were part of an occupational scheme, or those who live in countries where there are only a handful of members and it is too expensive or not practical to give them shares.

Standard Life members requiring further information can call the customer response team on 0845 275 3000. Lines are open 8.30am until 5.30pm, Monday to Friday, or email

membersstandardlife.com
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Title Annotation:Business
Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Date:Dec 3, 2005
Words:365
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