Resolution today confirmed that it is considering making a bid for Friends Provident and is in talks with the Friends Prov board.
Friends Prov has rejected an initial takeover proposal from Resolution, saying the offer is not in the best interest of its shareholders.
CBK Colchester principal Peter Chadborn is unsurprised by the Resolution bid and says transitions like this often don’t fare well for brands.
He says: “I’m not surprised but I would liked to have thought that Friends Provident is a company that could stand up on itself.
“In recent times the brand has lost its way in that IFAs have not been sure what Friends Provident stands for. Whether it’s a good thing or not, I cannot say, it depends on what the intention is of the brand.”
Premier Wealth Management managing director Adrian Shandley says: “I think Friends Provident is a business that’s lost its way. It has exited its key traditional roles in retail financial services and has gone into protection and networks. I would compare it to Royal & Sun Alliance which spent many years in the proverbial wilderness trying to reorganise its business. To me it looks like a business that is lurching.”
Hargreaves Lansdown head of pensions research Tom McPhail says: “Friends Provident has plans for the future, the question is whether the Resolution bid would give, if it were to go through, those plans more momentum and whether Resolution is looking at it as a new business outlet. Or whether, as has been the case in the past, Resolution is simply looking to acquire its existing business without seeking to add to it.”
Master Adviser IFA Roy McLoughlin says: “I’m not surprised by this. I feel it’s a sad day when a company with such a long history as Friends Provident loses its independence.
“As an adviser, we worry that the value part of their business might be broken up and that some of their product range may disappear.”