View more on these topics

Aviva eyes Tenet stake sale


Aviva is considering selling its stake in advice network Tenet, Money Marketing understands.

Following Aviva’s merger with Friends Life, the life office will become the largest shareholder in Tenet, owning 47 per cent of the firm.

Standard Life owns 25 per cent of the network, while Aegon owns 22 per cent and the remainder is owned by independent shareholders.

Experts say Aviva will be reluctant to own a majority stake in Tenet following the closure of Friends Life-owned Sesame.

Friends Life is the parent company of Sesame and put the network up for sale in February 2013. Following a strategic review of the business, in March it was announced that Sesame Bankhall Group would no longer operate as a network for investment advisers.

Friends Life chief executive Andy Briggs will become chief executive of Aviva UK Life, with Aviva UK and Ireland Life chief executive David Barral exiting the business.

Threesixty managing director Phil Young says: “The stance Andy Briggs took with ownership of Sesame, a business it inherited, was pretty definitive.

“It’s hard to see how as Aviva UK chief executive he’ll take the view that owning half of a different network is something he’s keen on.”

A senior source at another network says: “It is not part of Aviva’s plan to own distribution.

“Aviva has the distribution businesses it does by accident, and it has shown with Sesame that it will take direct action on the sectors it does not want to be in. Having said that, Tenet is a fundamentally different business to Sesame.”

One regulatory consultant adds: “All of Tenet’s shareholders would like to sell if they could get any value back.”

Independent regulatory consultant Richard Hobbs says Aviva will be assessing everything it owns post-merger to judge whether it adds shareholder value.

He says: “Tenet is a non-core business which Aviva will divest itself of when the time is right – either down to its previous shareholding or completely. The fact that Aviva now has almost a controlling stake could be awkward for its relationship with Aegon and Standard Life, as their stakes will no longer be equal.

“The question then becomes who would buy Aviva’s stake, to which there is no obvious answer.”

The merger also creates uncertainty for Friends Life and Aviva’s referral arrangements to advisers.

In April Friends Life agreed a tie-up which will see customers referred to Foster Denovo if they request or require advice.

Although it has never been formally announced, Tenet says it has had an arrangement in place for the past year whereby Aviva clients without an adviser are referred to Tenet’s national appointed representative Aspire Financial Management.

A spokeswoman for Aviva says whether new customers post-merger are referred to Tenet or Foster Denovo will depend on “how the customer has come to us and their product choice”.

But Yellowtail Financial Planning managing director Dennis Hall says having a dual referral arrangement could be beneficial for the combined business.

He says: “One firm could easily turn around and say thanks for all the leads but we have changed direction and are going elsewhere. It is risky to only build a relationship with one advice firm.”

Tenet chief executive Martin Greenwood says: “The acquisition of Friends Life resulted in Aviva becoming the major shareholder but did not result in a majority shareholding in Tenet. We are confident of the continuing support of our shareholders and as far as the company is concerned, it is business as usual.

“Tenet has had a referrals arrangement in place for Aviva customers without an adviser for in excess of a year. Naturally, we are talking to other providers to offer a similar service to their orphan clients who need access to advice.”

An Aviva spokeswoman says: “Aviva is committed to ensuring that customers have access to full regulated advice when they need it.

“We have an existing referrals arrangement with Tenet, for those Aviva customers who do not have an existing adviser. We also have a referrals arrangement with Foster Denovo, which was put in place by Friends Life prior to the merger.”



Attivo acquires four IFAs

Attivo has acquired four IFA businesses and says it is on track to complete a further seven deals this year. The chartered financial planning and wealth management firm has acquired Hertfordshire-based Porter DeVere, which was 130 active clients, and London-based Lifetime Financial Partnership, which has 180 active clients. Attivo has also bought Worcester-based Morgan Fitzgerald […]


UK GDP up to 0.4% in April

UK GDP grew by 0.4 per cent in the three months to April compared to 0.3 per cent growth in the three months ending in March 2015, according to the National Institute of Economic and Social Research. The think-tank says it expects “the slight softening” of GDP growth experienced in the first quarter of this […]


Advisers seek compensation for Iress Xplan system failures

A number of advice firms are pursuing Iress for thousands of pounds in refunded fees, after suffering “nightmare” technical problems with its Xplan software. Xplan is an end-to-end system which offers portfolio management, client communication and business management tools. Australian technology provider Iress also owns software programme Adviser Office, following its acquisition of Avelo in […]

Tilney for Intermediaries hires director from Cofunds

Discretionary investment manager Tilney for Intermediaries has appointed Mark Coles as director for financial intermediaries. Coles joins from Cofunds where he was head of business partnerships. Previously, he was head of business partnerships at Architas and investment strategy manager at Axa Wealth. In his new role Coles will report into head of Tilney for Intermediaries […]


News and expert analysis straight to your inbox

Sign up


There are 4 comments at the moment, we would love to hear your opinion too.

  1. Everyone concerned should be ashamed of themselves.

  2. stewart wooles 14th May 2015 at 8:59 pm

    Perhaps Aviva should offer to include the minority shareholders who have 6% of the issued shares with the sale of its 47%, giving the acquirer control of Sesame?

  3. stewart wooles 14th May 2015 at 9:22 pm

    Apologies, above comment should have said Tenet not Sesame!

  4. Lets see if Aviva do the honourable thing and allow small shareholders access to a share sale as well, not like the private deal with the Directors last time.

Leave a comment


Why register with Money Marketing ?

Providing trusted insight for professional advisers.  Since 1985 Money Marketing has helped promote and analyse the financial adviser community in the UK and continues to be the trusted industry brand for independent insight and advice.

News & analysis delivered directly to your inbox
Register today to receive our range of news alerts including daily and weekly briefings

Money Marketing Events
Be the first to hear about our industry leading conferences, awards, roundtables and more.

Research and insight
Take part in and see the results of Money Marketing's flagship investigations into industry trends.

Have your say
Only registered users can post comments. As the voice of the adviser community, our content generates robust debate. Sign up today and make your voice heard.

Register now

Having problems?

Contact us on +44 (0)20 7292 3712

Lines are open Monday to Friday 9:00am -5.00pm