View more on these topics

Banks could move in to snap up floating Friends

Friends Provident&#39s flotation could see a dogfight between British banks

for control of the company.

The mutual is not thought to be robust enough to stand alone in a

competitive sector and would immediately become a possible takeover target

for banks wanting to enter or expand their bancassurance operations.

But analysts say UK bancassurance attempts have failed and they should

leave the sector well alone.

Tether & Greenwood insurance analyst Tim Young says bancassurance in the

UK has a dire performance record and banks should leave life and pensions

to the experts. He says: “A number of the retail banks, which seem to think

they have a god-given right to run people&#39s pension money, may decide to

make a bid for Friends.

“Banks make sufficiently illogical business decisions all the time to

make such a move possible.”

Barclays and Abbey National have been touted as likely candidates waiting

to prey on Friends.

Barclays is still smarting following its failed bid for Scottish Widows

and Abbey National missed out on the Scot- tish Amicable deal.

Friends also faces a threat from the big insurers, with Axa known to be in

the market for a successful life operation.

But a minority of analysts believe that Friends still has a future as an

independent despite all the takeover talk.

Friends announced its demutualisation plans last week and says it will

float on the London Stock Exchange by the end of 2001. It has more than two

million policyholders and a total of 38bn in assets under management.

The Dorking-based company is determined to avoid carpetbagging. New

policyholders will be prevented from becoming members, with policies dated

May 4 or after not qualifying for windfalls.

KPMG insurance analyst John Jenkins says: “Friends Provident is a prime

candidate for a takeover. It is successful and small.”

Friends head of group communications Brian Wilkinson says: “Our success to

date may make us more attrac- tive but we intend to remain independent.”

Friends has decided to actively encourage companies it invests in to

behave more ethically. The life office, which has 15bn invested in its

equity portfolios, is taking the initiative in anticipation of Government

regulations which come into force in July. These will require institutional

shareholders to reveal the extent to which social, environmental and

ethical considerations are taken into account.


Perpetual talks may bring US takeover

Perpetual could be the next UK fund manager to fall into foreign hands following speculation that US investment firm Amvescap is considering making a bid for the firm.Perpetual confirmed on Tuesday that it was in potential takeover talks butwould not confirm Amvescap&#39s involvement.A successful takeover by Amvescap would bring Perpetual into the samestable as its […]

Britannic stirs the waves with new brand of &#39EFA&#39

IFAs have criticised Britannic Assurance for muddying the waters betweentied and independent advisers by dubbing the upmarket end of its tiedsalesforce as EFAs.IFAs are concerned the public will confuse Britannic&#39s new group ofexecutive financial advisers with fully independent ones because of thesimilar acronyms.The life office says it aims to recruit 270 EFAs by the end […]

ABI plea for Govt to rethink pension reporting rules

The ABI has slammed the Government over what it sees as inconsistenciesin reporting requirements for employer payments to personal pensions.The Department of Social Security wants life offices to whistleblow onemployers which fail to pay employee contributions already deducted fromsalaries.But providers claim that such a move would be imp- ossible to monitor asthere is no current […]

Correspondent&#39s Week

Monday: Down to Earth Productions Presents: BUMP!Not much more than a fortnight ago, I was sitting in a boat five miles offthe Pacific coast of Costa Rica with a fishing rod in one hand, a cold beerin the other and not an iota of a smidgen of a molecule of a care in myhead at […]


News and expert analysis straight to your inbox

Sign up


    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