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Abbey sets new targets after Resolution deal

Abbey is aiming to more than double its share of the investment and pension market in the next 18 months following the sale of its life business.

Its push in these areas will see the Spanish-owned bank increasing its team of in-branch advisers from 350 to 750.

The move comes after Abbey agreed to sell its life insurance business for 3.6bn in June to closed life fund consolidator Resolution. Under its new plans, Abbey aims to increase annual-premium investment and pension income to more than 2bn next year and by 2.5bn in 2008.

Intermediary sales are expected to grow by 200 per cent by 2008 while the firm continues to enhance its wrap proposition, which is set for a relaunch under the James Hay brand this autumn.

Abbey admits that although it has 18 million customers and 10 million savers, fewer than one million of these are active buyers of pension or investment products.

In its results for the six months to June 30, gross mortgage lending increased by 38 per cent from 11.5bn to 15.9bn year on year, giving it a market share of around 10 per cent. Investment sales increased by 20 per cent from 88m to 106m on an APE basis but protection sales fell by 5 per cent in comparison with the same period last year from 40m to 38m.

Spokeswoman Stephanie Thatcher says: “The targets have been set following the sale of our life business to Resolution. This frees us up to focus our strategy on life and pensions and, of course, our wrap business.”

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