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AWD to focus on wealth business

AWD Group is selling its mortgage and at-retirement arms to focus on wealth management.

Chief executive Mike Kirsch says the move shows the commitment of owners AWD AG and Swiss Life to the long-term development of the firm after months of uncertainty about its future in the UK.

He says: “This will give them a flight to quality through a progressive business that will look to new market opportunities and propositions to exploit.”

At-retirement business Read, which has 20 employees, and mortgage and loan arm Home Finance are both to be sold.

Kirsch says: “It was a strategic decision because if you look at the clients for Home Finance and Read, there are no synergies to the rest of the business, so there is an unnecessary distribution focus on them. Selling the firms shows a real commitment on our behalf although we will do right by them in ensuring it is the right sale.”

AWD Chase De Vere says the simplification of its business model will see it return to profitability by 2010. Changes implemented at the firm include a reduction in the headcount of its advisers as well as the launch of its own platform, expected to raise £400m in assets by the end of 2008.

Kirsch says: “We want to build this business and keep the service to the highest level. The private client office in Leeds is an example of us moving to a collaborative and specialist offering and we hope that with the right talent we can do more of the same.”

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