The sector that wants to sandbag itself from private equity

29 May 2023

“In Britain’s House of Lords, the ermined peers are in the last throes of passing a bill that must be one of the shortest ever to cross the dispatch box.

It’s called the Co-operatives, Mutuals and Friendly Societies Bill, and it doesn’t even take up three sides of A4.

But when it passes, probably in mid-June, it could shut the gates on demutualisations for good – sealing off what has long been a happy hunting ground for private equity.

It’s a legislative model that Australia’s $1.5 trillion mutual and co-op industry would be keen to see replicated Down Under, to protect the sector’s 1800-plus financial, agricultural, retail and other businesses, which are owned by its customers or policyholders, from forced demutualisation.

“You have to waste a lot of time and money in repelling a proposal that you do not think is in the members’ interests. That takes a lot of business energy,” says Melina Morrison, chief executive of the Business Council of Co-operatives and Mutuals (BCCM).”

Read the full article, The sector that wants to sandbag itself from private equity, in the Australian Financial Review, 29 May 2023

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