Standard Life windfall

I could have waited and posted an updated picture of me on the beach in Sicily for this thread, but I wanted to relish my Standard Life windfall in advance. Millions of Standard Life customers will receive cash windfalls after members voted to end 80 years of history as a mutually-owned company.
More than 1.5 million customers and policyholders voted 98% in favour of a stock market flotation at a special general meeting in Edinburgh.

I know that there are plenty of arguments on either side for mutuality and demutualisation. From my perspective, I think these companies are anachronistic and very much hark back to a time preceding the safety of a welfare state. It is time to move on and make good business decisions, such as the one that has now been confirmed at Standard Life.

The windfall may just be a transient thing for many people like me, but goodnes, what is life if we cannot stop and stare the odd time!

  • joeCanuck


    Bully for you.
    I’ve had a few little windfalls in my life.
    My advice to anyone who gets one is “don’t put it in your current account. Spend it!” Doesn’t matter what you spend it on but I’ve travelled worldwide and there’s nothing like it for seeing how petty and selfish we are in the “First” world.
    Northern Ireland’s angst is trivial compared to the daily troubles many people in the world (ok, not Sicily) have in just feeding their families.
    Amazing thing is, as long as their standard of living is at least on a par with their immediate neighbours, they seem to live in (comparitive) happiness.

  • Miss Fitz

    Thanks for your comments. I was prompted to change my photo after what you said, and you now see two of my ‘good friends’ from Sicily!

    Looks like these guys had a windfall too? Or shook an Olive tree maybe?

  • joeCanuck

    Hey missfitz

    They sure do look happy. I think their insurance company just demutualized. They’re looking forward to their trip to N.I.
    BTW, Ive shaken olive trees in the south of Spain.
    All that Italian olive oil you buy is actually olive oil from Spain, which is exported to Italy and rebottled as the finest Italian olive oil and sold worldwide.

  • willis

    Woo Hoo Miss Fitz

    Good to see that you are posting big time. Thanks for the encouragement.

  • who cares

    What to hell has that story got to do with Sluggerotoole?????????

  • joeCanuck

    Who cares

    Can’t be happy?
    Go to bed.

  • Miss Fitz

    Who cares:
    Standard Life remains one of the largest mutual companies doing business in NI, and this piece of news will affect many people here.

    I’m sorry if this doesnt fit a narrow view of Slugger O’Toole, but I understand the remit to be a place that ‘records news, commentary and diverse opinion on Northern Ireland’.

    You could always read another thread.

  • Dec

    Miss Fitz

    I wouldn’t book the holiday just yet. IIRC the windfall will only be available to members not customers. I hope I’m wrong though.

  • GrassyNoel

    I read recently that the ‘windfall’ will be more likely to be around £500-700, the £1,700 mentioned by that article seems a bit optimistic. Also the markets are quite uncertain at the present, so it’s maybe not the best time to float – they should have got the finger out earlier and done it last year

  • BogExile

    Well, I’m going to Britanny on the proceeds of my wee nest egg.

    Miss Fitz, can I recommend the coastal region of Tuscany south of Pisa as an alternative to Sicily. Less, hoods, Chavs – and the bit where the Italians themselves go to cool down. Divine.

  • willis


    Where do you start on the things Standard Life should have done?

  • smcgiff

    My own personal Carpetbagging history…

    Canada Life (a few years ago and can’t remember how much).
    Standard Life (thank *insert deity of choice here* this came off because I remember telling everyone and their dog about this one 9 years ago)
    Irish Nationwide (the Biggie – expect approx €15-€20k) within the next 6 months.)

    The next one to to consider is *Cough* *splutter*. Got that!

  • lamh dearg

    But after demutualisation service and returns do get worse. Returns on investments have been worse in the ex mutual institutions when compared with those that remained mutual. It stands to reason given that their whole raison d’etre switches from benefiting members to benefiting shareholders.

    So it really is like selling off the family silver for short term gain.

    And so far it has always lead to job loses among the staff as the company tries to maximise profits for the shareholders and the directors packages and sheds any ethos of “the general good”

  • Miss Fitz

    And if you wanted to extend that thought, its also emblematic of a society where looking after each other was the norm, when the state did not have that role or function.

    There is room for debate on how far we need to expect the state to look after us, and whether at some point we will need to start realigning on the micro level of society.

  • Stephen Copeland

    lamh dearg,

    … their whole raison d’etre switches from benefiting members to benefiting shareholders.

    If you use your windfall to buy shares then you will, in theory, continue to benefit. And if “the company tries to maximise profits for the shareholders” you might actually benefit more.

    In economic terms demutualisation should be a positive thing, though in social terms it might be negative. This seems to just one more small step along the path towards the complete victory of Capitalism.

  • Harry Flashman

    I’ve a small life insurance policy with Standard Life, do I get anything?

    By the way, worth sticking a few quid into the Progressive Building Society, someone’s bound to buy them out eventually.

  • Hurrah, I’ve in line for a £500 windfall.

  • Rory

    Miss Fitz we are being increasingly abjured by government for harbouring any notions of future reliance on the state and to rely instead on our own efforts, in the matter of pensions, health care and children’s education. Civic provision of libraries, arts and leisutre and sports facilities are also being phased out. Into this vacuum then must surely rush the carpet baggers of big business as ‘service providers’ to provide those necessary services not to satisfy social need but to maximise profit, which will inevitably cut out the poor, the sick, the old, the needy from having proper provision – those in fact who need it most.

    It would seem to me a prudent time for maintaining, strengthening and expanding mutual societies not for flogging them off to ruthless exploiters for a mess of potage.

    Your views on society strike me as uncomfortably close to Margaret Thatcher’s who famously denied there was such a concept as society merely a collection of individuals. Even wild dogs run in packs so the ideal of a ‘dog eat dog’ society that most fits Thatcher’s world view is not even fair to dogs.

    Enjoy your money, Miss Fitz. I can’t hold you responsible for the greed of Standard Life’s directors but please don’t imagine that your short lived pleasure in spending your bonus extends somehow miraculously through all of humankind because of demutualisation.

  • smcgiff


    Did you get to vote lately re demutualisation?

    Is your policy a With-Profits life policy? If not you may not be eligible.

    It might be best to phone them and ask if you’re eligible.

  • smcgiff

    ‘please don’t imagine that your short lived pleasure in spending your bonus extends somehow miraculously through all of humankind because of demutualisation’

    Ouch, Rory – us carpet baggers have feeling too you know! 🙂

  • Miss Fitz

    Hi Rory
    I enjoy the debate on society enormously, and I always feel that Thatcher’s remarks are constantly taken out of context for the use in debates to which they have no relevance.

    I think we’ve been through a period where too many people have been given to understand that if they have a problem, it’s the government’s job to cope with it. ‘I have a problem, I’ll get a grant.’ ‘I’m homeless, the government must house me.’ They’re casting their problem on society. And, you know, there is no such thing as society. There are individual men and women, and there are families. And no government can do anything except through people, and people must look to themselves first. It’s our duty to look after ourselves and then, also to look after our neighbour. People have got the entitlements too much in mind, without the obligations. There’s no such thing as entitlement, unless someone has first met an obligation

    I’m sorry, but I believe that people have an obligation to make some effort in life to look after themselves first, then we look after each other. No-one is casting off the more vulnerable members of society or contending that this should be done.

    However, we live in a society where people’s expectations of assistance come well before their consideration of self help

  • Miss Fitz

    Second paragraph there is the Thatcher statement in a more extended form, and one in which I think it makes better sense

  • Rory

    Indeed Miss Fitz people do have an obligation to look after themselves. That becomes difficult however when the means to do so has been taken from them as in the industrial blight of north-east England and South Wales. They can hardly return to subsisrence farming on their land can they?

    Interesting wasn’t it that among the first doubtful beneficiaries of Thatcher’s policy of self-reliance were the mentally ill who were cast out of sheltered care and left to wander the streets dazed and bewildered, cut off from the safety of the only community they had known and finding o care in the community whatsoever. Society found a voice now and then when a middle class white person was killed at a tube station by a schizpohrenic but that voice grew faint when the bodies of the suicides were whisked off the streets. But, hey, what the hell, the savings allowed for a break on capital gains and higher level income taxes, so large pink gins all round!

  • Jo

    This is good news for me as a policyholder, but the money only goes some small way to rectifying the shortfall in the SL policy which I was mis-sold (along with many others) in the early 90s.

    I understand that the average payout would have been £3000 plus had the previous demutualisation been pushed through.

    The returns that SL are putting through as my annual dividend are laughable, were it not that this was intended to repay my capital.

    I could do a damn sight better at investing money myself – and have done!

    I think whatever money people can get back is well deserved given the total sh*t investment returns that this lot have delivered recently.

    I am sure I am not the only one who has had to convert all/part of their mortgage due to the inept investment strategies and downright crooked misselling of SL policies for years and years.

    I am taking the money and running, thank you. And thank you, Miss Fitz for posting this. It is indeed of interest to many SL victims in NI.

  • Jo

    Incidentally, if you wanted to get any of this, you were required to register with SL some time ago.

    Any/all eligible members were advised in the last few weeks of their eligibility and the no. of shares which they were entitled to receive.
    Check the mail box guys? Or the missus’ dressing table drawer? 🙂

  • SuperSoupy

    Must be lovely for you all working the system.

    Pity you benefit more while the poor get left behind.

    Enjoy. The gloat must be such fun.

    Hope for the day your explotiation and running down of cooperatives is treated with the contempt it deserves.

    (I see something to embarassed over not a gloat)