United Kingdom
This article was added by the user . TheWorldNews is not responsible for the content of the platform.

JEFF PRESTRIDGE: Deal for City advisers, not members of LV

Much as it hurts me to say, I have been wrong before in predicting whether members of a mutual will back a move to demutualise – most notably Bradford & Bingley in 2000. 

But I would be surprised if LV's useless board has persuaded enough members to vote to hand over control of the business to American private equity company Bain Capital. We will know before the Christmas festivities start in earnest. 

What is irrefutable is that with every passing day, the board's decision to back a £530million deal from Bain looks more questionable. 

Irrefutable: With every passing day, the board's decision to back a £530million deal from Bain looks more questionable

While LV's beleaguered (and underwhelming) chief executive Mark Hartigan will vehemently deny it, the cosying up to Bain looks like a deal struck more to feather the nests of City advisers and key board members (Hartigan and chairman Alan 'Captain' Cook) than to protect the interests of customers. Although Hartigan has refused to reveal the pot of gold that awaits him and Captain Cook if the Bain deal goes ahead, we do now know that a phalanx of advisers will share a bounty of £43million. A sum equivalent to more than 20 per cent of the £212million windfalls that LV's 1.16million members are being offered. Outrageous. 

We also know Bain intends to run LV through an offshore company – a move designed, I imagine, to keep corporate tax bills down to a minimum. What LV's founding fathers would think of this nobody knows, but I can't imagine they'd be happy. Understandably, calls for regulatory intervention are mounting – Kevin Hollinrake, Conservative MP for Thirsk and Malton, being the latest to back such a move. But given the Financial Conduct Authority's tendency to procrastinate over key financial issues (think Woodford, think London & Capital), I doubt whether it has got the balls to halt the process and investigate whether the deal is in the best interests of LV members. 

What still concerns me is what the future holds for LV if the £530million Bain bid is voted down. Of course, Hartigan and Cook would have no choice but to resign – few tears will be shed if that happens. 

And the positions of other board members, especially the non-executives, would also become untenable given their role in allowing Hartigan to champion Bain unchallenged. Talk about being patsies. 

Maybe, as my colleagues on the City pages have reported, fellow mutual Royal London will come riding to the rescue with a merger proposition. Or one of the other ten failed bidders will come back. 

But if that doesn't happen, LV, its customers and employees will be left in limbo. It will be a financially challenged business with a discredited brand, run by nervous employees looking after disgruntled customers. A dangerous place to be. Mutuals caught in a similar situation have come horribly unstuck.

Make your voice heard on LV 

We are encouraging LV members, customers, or others, who would like to see it retain its mutual status, rather than be bought out by private equity,  to write to it.

You could use the wording from the letter printed in the Daily Mail newspaper's City pages (pictured here).

We have included the words for you to copy and paste into a letter below. 

Send it to Alan Cook, Chairman of LV=, Liverpool Victoria, County Gates, Bournemouth, BH1 2NF 

Dear Alan Cook,

I, the undersigned, urge you to reconsider your decision to sell LV= to Bain Capital and instead maintain its mutual status. 

Energy suppliers dropping like flies 

The energy market is in chaos as suppliers drop like flies – 25 at the last count and there will be more failures before the year is out. 

Although accusing fingers are being rightly wagged in the direction of regulator Ofgem (as useless as the FCA), what is key is that the country's most vulnerable are protected from rising prices. According to charity Age UK, 150,000 older households will be pushed into fuel poverty this winter despite the energy price cap. 

It is now urging elderly citizens to check whether they are eligible for Pension Credit, a benefit that unlocks the door to Cold Weather Payments and the Warm Home Discount Scheme. 

If you think you or a neighbour may qualify, please take time out today to take a look at: www.gov. uk/pension-credit/how-to-claim.