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Aussie firm buys Neville James

Australian-based financial services group Challenger International has snapped up UK Tep market-maker Neville James for £6.65m to spearhead its entry into the UK.

Challenger, which has a market capitalisation of £300m and manages over £2bn in funds in Australia and New Zealand, is also launching a life company in the UK under its own brand, focusing on the compulsory purchase annuity market.

Challenger believes even if the UK Government removes the compulsion to buy annuities or raises the current age limit of 75, it must still provide some incentive for people to invest for their retirement.

Challenger has applied to the FSA for its life licence and aims to start trading in the next three to six months using the IFA channel as its main means of distribution. It will keep the Neville James name to develop its Tep market-making activities and fund business using the firm&#39s existing management, operational base and focused distribution network, including IFAs.

Neville James was established in 1992. Besides its Tep activities, it manages three funds, the biggest of which has more than £100m.

Challenger executive director Brett Newman says: “The UK Government cannot afford to take the risk of people not investing in pension assets. In Australia, people are not forced to buy an annuity but they are incentivised.”

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