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JEFF PRESTRIDGE: Don't back this Laurel and Hardy deal at LV

Member of Liverpool Victoria have until early Wednesday afternoon to have their say on what future course they believe the business should be taking. I urge all members to exercise their right to vote. 

Confusingly (no surprise there given the smoke and mirrors approach adopted by LV's inept bosses in recent months), there are two votes for the mutual's 1.13million members to consider. 

The first (vote one) is the key one – to approve or reject the £530million offer from American private equity giant Bain Capital. 

If members says no, it's back to the drawing board for chairman Alan 'Captain' Cook and chief executive Mark Hartigan who have put all their eggs in the Bain basket. 

All at sea: LV bosses have been labelled the the financial services industry's answer to Laurel and Hardy

They are the financial services industry's answer to Laurel and Hardy (without the humour) and should walk (or be pushed) if members say yes or no to Bain. Retirement from financial services is their best option. 

The second (vote two) is to remove the requirement that in the event of members backing the Bain deal, it can only go ahead if at least 50 per cent of all members have voted. 

Naughtily, LV says it will reduce the minimum one-off windfall from £100 to £60 whether members say the hurdle should stay – while proceeding full steam ahead with the Bain deal in 'a different way'. 

What it means by 'different way' I'm not quite sure. While LV has embarked on an advertising blitz in recent days to persuade members to give the Bain deal the green light, I don't think it deserves to win.

It has handled the whole demutualisation process appallingly badly, only revealing key details (for example, the £43million it is paying City advisers and bankers to oversee the deal) when pushed to do so by an enquiring press. 

If it had been more transparent from the word go, then LV may have been able to impress upon members why the deal with Bain really is in their best interests. But it chose a different path, one very much in line with the outdated with-profits policies it still manages on behalf of many members. That is, one based on smoke and mirrors. 

Stranger things have happened, but I'd be amazed if Bain gets its grubby private equity mitts on LV – and that Cook and Hartigan are still at LV come the New Year. If you're a member, please vote.

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. 

Interactive Investor missing a trick by falling into the hands of Abrdn

The proposed purchase of investment platform Interactive Investor by asset manager Abrdn may prove to be a bit of shrewd business for the company that most readers will know as Standard Life Aberdeen. 

But I think Interactive is missing a trick by falling into the hands of this investment giant. 

Interactive has done much to make investing easier – and cheaper – for private investors. It's also not been frightened to be an investment champion.

Its recent call for investment managers to disclose their personal holdings in the funds they run ('skin in the game') is a worthy one. But in selling out to Abrdn, it's chipping away at the moral high ground it perches itself on. 

If it's the investment champion it claims to be, it should instead be listing its shares on the stock market – and allowing customers and small investors to buy them. 

That would be truly empowering and cement its reputation as an investment good guy