Standard Life members today voted emphatically in favour of the company's planned demutualisation and listing on the stock market.
At today's special general meeting in Edinburgh 98 per cent of voters agreed with the insurance and investment group's board that floating on the London Stock Exchange was the best course of action for the company.
The firm needed at least 75 per cent of members to be in favour of the special resolution and company bosses are understandably "delighted" with today's results, as voter turnout was also high, with 65 per cent of the 2.4 million members eligible to vote having their say.
Standard Life plc will not be listed on the stock exchange by July, pending approval from the court of session in Scotland next month.
Sir Brian Stewart, group chairman, said: "We are delighted with this outcome. We have a clear and emphatic vote of confidence in our proposal to demutualise and float on the London Stock Exchange, and this decision is an excellent outcome for the future of Standard Life."
Twice in the last decade successive company boards have attempted to convince members of the benefits of a listing on the London Stock Exchange, but until today those calls had been resisted, with members in favour of maintaining the firm's 80-year-old mutually owned status.
But Sir Brian and other board members have succeeded in persuading members that they and the company would be better off if they became shareholders, and 5.2 million people are now in line for windfalls of at least £500 and Standard Life is set to gain £1 billion from flotation.
He commented: "Today's result is historic, but we still have work to do. On June 15th we plan to mail members, customers and employees with details of our preferential offer, if they are eligible.
"All of this will culminate with our proposed flotation in July when we expect Standard Life plc to list on the London Stock Exchange. As I have said throughout this process, we believe this outcome is in the best interests of members, policyholders and our business."