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&#39Big downturn for networks&#39

IFA network members saw business handling levels fall by as much as 39 per

cent over the last year, according to the latest research by Henry Samuels

Marketing Services.

The overall drop averaged 14 per cent, with private medical insurance

falling by an unprecedented 39 per cent and Isas and mortgage-related

business both plummeting by 18 per cent.

The report follows detailed interviews with 400 IFAs nationwide in April

and March this year.

The research also shows that 57 per cent of network members would seek

direct authorisation on leaving their network compared with just 15 per

cent who said they would join another network.

Product areas bucking the trend of significant downturns in business

levels were other protection products and group pensions, which both fell

by just 2 per cent.

Henry Samuels says: “There has been a general downturn in penetration

levels virtually right across the network sector, suggesting the current

business environment is encouraging members to concentrate their activities

on selected classes only.”

But networks are hitting back at the findings. DBS spokeswoman Sue Lewis

says: “Isa sales are down generally because of fear of investment in the

current climate and mortgage endowment sales are down because of the scare.

“But group personal pensions will have increased due to stakeholder and I

am surprised that PMI business has fallen.”


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