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Bankhall quells fears on independent status

Bankhall is moving to reassure members that their independent status will not be affected by Skandia&#39s £210m takeover of parent Lynx.

The announcement of the deal at the end of December, just weeks ahead of the FSA&#39s announcement on the future of polarisation, had led to fears that Skandia was trying to buy up distribution ahead of multi-ties.

But Bankhall director Tony Murrell has moved to dismiss such fears, stressing that Bank-hall is an IFA support service provider, with 75 per cent of members directly regulated by the FSA, and that it does not and will not impose product provider panels or ties on members.

Murrell says: “The deal will do nothing to increase the proportion of Skandia products sold by Bankhall members.”

But the deal will leave Skandia well positioned to set up a separate multi-tie arm through Bankhall in the event of relaxation of polarisation.

Skandia has yet to announce which of its management staff will join the board of Bankhall but the core of the Bankhall management team will remain in place.

The Lynx software arm will be bought out by its management for £60m, with the Bank-hall business being 86 per cent owned by Skandia and 14 per cent by the Bankhall management team.

Skandia is aiming to play down Bankhall member fears that customers will perceive the independence of their advice will be compromised by the deal. It has also quashed rumours that it is to offer IFAs a back-office IT system.

Skandia group marketing director Bill West says: “Skandia has always championed independence. We are buying a support services provider so it can develop its own plans more quickly. The deal supports independent financial advice.”


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