Aviva: We will not push into wider advice market

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Aviva has no plans to expand its ownership of advice firms beyond Sesame Bankhall Group following its decision to relaunch a face-to-face advice arm.

The insurer revealed plans to re-enter the restricted advice market last month through the launch of a face-to-face-at-retirement advice service, three years after it cut its 120-strong team of advisers.

Speaking after Aviva’s half-year results announcement today, UK and Ireland life chief executive Andy Briggs told Money Marketing the insurer does not have plans to buy IFA firms.

He says: “We already own Sesame Bankhall Group and what we have done there is move out of the appointed representative side of wealth advice so we have got two core components of Sesame Bankhall Group now and it is performing well.”

Aviva offers a directly authorised model through SBG and also a mortgage advice service. It inherited SBG through its 2015 acquisition of Friends Life.

Briggs reiterated that Aviva’s move back into advice was driven by its mass market customers not necessarily wanting to pay IFA fees.

He says: “Post-RDR what we are seeing is high-net worth customers are going to IFAs and paying a fee for the service.

“We have got a lot of mass market customers, some of them will go to IFAs and we will happily work through that way but, for those that do not want to pay the fees to IFAs we are creating an advice service and capability to meet those customer needs.”

Aviva reported a 13 per cent increase in pre-tax profit in the first half of the yar driven by growth in its UK life and fund management arms and cost savings from its merger with Friends Life.