Demutualisation in Australia

Competitive pressures continue to force mutuals to look for new sources of capital (outside their existing membership).

In this article Mark Fitzgerald argues that there is no evidence that an organisation’s performance is improved by demutualisation. He refers to research undertaken by the Association des Assureurs Cooperatifs et Mutuels Europeens which has refuted this claim.

"The study of 97 companies in 11 countries within the European market
shows that mutuals outperform stockholder companies in greater claims
payments, lower costs and better overall financial performance.

Mutuality was shown to have a significant value by creating a circle
of mutual benefit focusing primarily on customer value resulting in
good performance, which in turn strengthens and promotes the mutual

The ICMIF Report makes interesting reading, in this regard, as it
demonstrates that most co-operatives seeking to demutualise in order to
inject new capital into their organisation, have usually fallen prey to
a takeover once they have become stockholding entities. The report
concludes that the arguments for demutualisation are not so much based
on hard facts, but more often on the ideology of demutualisation.

ACCORD has commenced work to compare the stated aims of proponents of demutualisation with the actual outcome.

ACCORD is currently examining the performance of 10 co-operatives
that have recently demutualised in NSW. By comparing their mandatory
prospectus pre-demutualisation with their current status, it aims to
measure the real as against rhetorical results and impacts of the

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