Standard Life reviews Brunswick’s PR brief

Insurance firm Standard Life is holding talks with a number of City PR agencies as the group prepares its first pitch for financial comms support.

The firm – which is this month fighting calls from carpetbagger and retired lecturer David Stonebanks to demutualise – confirmed it is holding an informal review to ‘see who else is out there’.

The account is curently held by Brunswick, who were appointed on recommendation three-and-a-half years ago.

Standard Life director of corporate affairs Gordon Arthur denied speculation that the group was unhappy with Brunswick’s work in light of recent press surrounding Stonebanks’s carpetbagging attempts.

‘We have been talking to other agencies to see who else is out there, it [a competitive pitch] is a process that we’ve not been through in the past as a company,’ said Arthur.

Agency talks have been ongoing for the past three weeks, but Arthur said there was no timetable for a decision.

He said on the City PR challenges that lie ahead for the group: ‘We are looking for someone who can work with us to help people understand the particular challenges our industry and company face.’

Standard Life’s value is reported to have dropped to £5bn, from £12bn in 2000.

It has vowed to fight Stonebank’s demutualisation proposals, which claim the average with-profits policyholder would receive up to £2,500 free shares if the group floated on the stock market.

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