Axa is set to close its bancassurance division following a strategic review of the business, Money Marketing can reveal.
Axa currently has two UK banking partners – the Co-operative Banking Group and Clydesdale and Yorkshire Banks.
The decision to close the bancassurance arm will result in the loss of approximately 450 Axa UK roles and a period of individual consultation has now started.
Axa UK chief executive Paul Evans says: ”Axa UK remains a strong advocate of consumers being able to access affordable advice for their particular investment needs.
”Following similar announcements by major retail banks, we are very disappointed that Axa UK must also now withdraw this service having not found a model which balanced the regulatory requirement that the service be profitable in its own right, whilst setting advice fees at an affordable level.”
Axa also operates an appointed representative model with West Bromwich Building Society. It says it will continue to support this arrangement whilst West Bromwich transitions to a ”new model”.
The closure of Axa’s bancassurance arm follows Santander pulling out of investment advice last month. The move by Santander led to 724 job losses, with 150 staff kept on to look after existing customers.
The number of bank advisers as at 31 December was down 44 per cent on December 2011 figures according to FSA data, from an estimated 8,658 in 2011 to 4,809. Overall the the total number of retail investment advisers fell 23 per cent from the 40,566 estimated by the FSA at the end of 2011 to 31,132 at the end of 2012, the first day of the RDR.