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£1.7m buys NU stake in Inter-Alliance

Norwich Union has continued its spree of buying stakes in IFA firms by taking a 4.7 per cent share in Inter-Alliance for £1.7m.
The life company confirms it is in discussions with other IFAs and says it only takes stakes in listed companies.
Norwich Union has spent £12m so far buying up shares in IFAs and has 5 per cent in Berkeley Berry Birch, 4.7 per cent in Lynx, parent company of Bank-hall, 3 per cent in Cavanagh and 2 per cent in Millfield. All Inter-Alliance’ major shareholders are financial services companies, with Gartmore holding 14.1 per cent.
Its share price has fallen dramatically over the last year from a high of £4.20 in November 2000 to 80p at the time of going to press.
Norwich Union director of IFA development David Barral says: “Our strategy is to take minority stakes in major IFA groups. We are having other discussions and it is probable that we will take further stakes.
“We do not yet know whe-ther there will be any changes to polarisation. IFAs are the cornerstone of our distribution and it is in our interests and that of the industry and consumers to invest in them. Even if nothing happens to polarisation, IFAs still need to be well capitalised.”
Hargreaves Lansdown chief executive Peter Hargreaves says: “What is NU’ motive – does it think it is a good investment or does it think it will get more than its fair share of business? If they say it is for capitalisation of IFAs, then it is not purely for investment.”

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