UK regulator gives go-ahead for LV= de-mutualisation

After facing questions from parliament on private equity takeover

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The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has given the green light for the sale of UK life insurer LV=.

The UK watchdog confirmed its “non-objection” to the provider taking the next steps in asking its members for their views on the de-mutualisation.

It added that it does not have anything to object with LV= proceeding to the court and putting the M&A proposals to member votes, with a few additional requirements.

These include extending the opening hours for its customer helpline during the relevant period to allow those who may not be able to enquire during working hours to have the time to do so. The insurer will need to add further online video sessions for policyholders and members, beyond the ones it already has planned, to answer their questions rather than for presentation purposes.

The firm’s senior managers have also been asked by the FCA to ensure ongoing monitoring in order to maintain service standards in the event the sale to private equity firm Bain Capital is agreed.

In the event of a majority vote for the acquisition, LV= will need to return to the court for a sanction hearing, the regulator added.

The sale of the mutual insurer to the private equity firm was first announced in December 2020 for £530m ($728m, €625m).

The M&A deal then came under fire from both the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Mutuals and members of parliament who believed the deal was “rushed” and that LV=’s board members had not been “open and transparent with members about its intentions for the company”.

International Adviser reached out to LV=, but the firm did not provide a comment in time for publication.

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