Today Standard life members voted to demutualise the insurer - seeing them come into line for an average windfall of £1,700.
A massive 98 per cent of the 1.6 million members who voted were in favour of Standard Life Assurance Company floating on the stock exchange as Standard Life plc.
"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," said Standard Life chairman Brian Stewart.
The decision to become a public limited company means some 2.4 million members will receive shares in the new firm - analysts estimate that the average value of the shares will be around £1,700.
However, with some institutional investors receiving six-figure payouts, the majority of members will receive between £500 and £1,000.
To qualify for shares, Standard Life members must have taken out their contract before March 31st 2004 and have policies that mature after October 18th 2005.
If all goes to plan, Standard life plans to float on the stock exchange in July.
But despite this initial windfall, the move will not necessarily see members better off.
The Association of Mutual Insurers (AMI) calculates that holders of with-profits policies receive £14,000 less in payouts than if the organisation had remained mutual.
"Irrespective of market conditions demutualisation seems to ensure policy holders lower returns which bear no relationship to the modest windfall payouts made to members at the time of conversion," said Shaun Tarbuck, chief executive of the AMI.
"In fact, in the most recent cases, the demutualised company effectively claws back the windfall payment within one year through lower investment returns."