THE SIREN SONG OF THE PUBLIC market is luring another mutual life insurer to Wall Street. On May 12, the board of 136-year-old John Hancock Mutual Life voted to convert from a mutual, run as a cooperative and owned by policyholders, to a stock-issuing company. While only a few major mutual insurers have decided to go public, most are expected to convert in coming years to seek the capital to keep up with rivals in financial services. Metropolitan Life is seen as the next candidate, but executives say nothing's in the works yet.

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