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‘ABI is not looking to resurrect salesforces’

Large-scale provider direct salesforces are extinct and will not be resurrected under the Association of British Insurers’ retail distribution review proposals, claims Norwich Union.

Speaking at Money Marketing Live, NU head of distribution development Stephen Gay branded talk that the simplified regulatory regime advocated by the ABI will revive DSFs as “a conspiracy theory”.

The ABI’s final response to the retail distribution review calls for a simplified regulatory regime to “make direct distribution more economic for firms” and suggests “the success of the bancassurance model has demonstrated that in the right environment, the mass market can be served economically”.

Gay said these suggestions are not necessarily calling for providers to facilitate this stream and the simplified regime could be employed equally by distributor businesses or other organisations.

Gay said: “I think DSFs are dead, they are not coming back. There is nothing in the ABI paper to suggest they are coming back or should. They failed for reasons we all know and understand and things have not changed, so I think this argument should be consigned to the bin as a conspiracy theory.”

Royal London chief executive Mike Yardley said: “I feel very strongly that if DSFs do resurrect and are in the market of offering regulated advice, there should not be a two-tier approach. It should be very much the same degree of regulation and disclosure that applies to them as to an independent intermediary.”

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