View more on these topics

Bill Haynes

Perhaps appropriate for someone whose early ambition was to be

Jacques Cousteau, Britannic&#39s marketing chief found himself in deep water

in his first job but now it&#39s all going swimmingly

BYLN: Tracey Boles


For someone who fluf fed his first sales job, Britannic Assurance sales

and marketing director Bill Haynes has come a long way.

His first potential client did not buy anything from him. But these days,

at 38, Haynes sits on the board of Britannic Assurance.

He was a key player in the recent decision to acquire a 75 per cent stake

in Britannia Asset Management and Britannia Life, a deal which took funds

under management to £20bn.

Obviously, his sales technique improved with time.

He says: “I understand what the consumer wants in a financial services

environment – good quality, good value products and an easy means of


Over the years, he honed his craft with several financial services

companies. Apart from a stint working on Weston-super-Mare pier as a

youngster, he has always been employed in the sector.

Bristol-born Haynes started out as a financial adviser with Abbey Life in

the late 1970s. Then he set up his own IFA business, which he sold after

four years to a merchant bank.

He moved to Commercial Union where he was responsible for setting up its

direct salesforce in 1986. He was appointed a director in 1990 but two

years later moved to Sun Life as managing director of direct distribution.

While there, he is credited with dramatically increasing the performance

of the salesforce and instigating a programme of cost control which bought

the operation into profit. It got him noticed.

He was headhunted by Britannic in 1997. It saw someone financially

competent who was open to change and who could provide clear leadership in

a difficult transition period.

At Britannic, Haynes has already overseen many changes and describes the

period as one of his biggest challenges because it has involved turning the

tide on 130 years of history.

The life office no longer sees itself as just a home-service operator.

Although it will continue to be dominated by the direct salesforce, it aims

to become multi-distributional with its recently launched IFA channel and

an eye on developing the e-commerce side.

The multi-distribution strategy is one facet of the company highlighted in

Britan nic&#39s ongoing marketing campaign, which features a pair of swans

representing a partnership for life. The ads also focus on Britannic&#39s aim

to deliver “good quality needs-based advice”.

Underpinning this aim is a revamped salesforce. In the last three years,

individual productivity has improved by 170 per cent. Haynes attributes

this to training “enabling them to do the job properly rather than policing

them when they do not”. The training looks at needs analysis, completeness

of advice and good sales practice.

Each day, Haynes tries to get the best out of his teams. “I give people

the opportunity to develop their abilities and achieve what they set out to

do. I see myself in a supporting role, creating the environment to do this

and providing the right resources.

“I run a meritocracy where the best performing get the best rewards but

everyone starts off on an equal basis.

It winds me up when people do not try.”

No wonder colleagues describe him as focused and passionate. That said, he

likes to keep his working day fluid and relatively unstructured so as not

to be always rushing from one meeting to another.

He finishes around 6pm and heads for the gym in a bid to remain as fit as

possible. He also relaxes at home in Clifton, Bristol with his children,

Alexander, five, and Claudia, three.

During the course of a week, he moves between Birmingham, London and

Bristol to keep a high profile in the branches and give the salesforce the

chance to discuss any problems face to face. But confrontation is not his


Surprisingly, then, one of his biggest hobbies is martial arts. He also

collects paintings – “not like Charles Saatchi” but buying what he likes.

His is currently into abstract impressionism. Yet another love is classical

history and archaeology around the time of Alexander the Great.

He also enjoys travelling. Haiti made a particularly big impression on him.

“Despite the highest infant mortality rate in the world, it has a

vibrancy,” he says.

For the end of the millennium, he is going to Jamaica. His ideal holiday

would be scuba diving in the Seychelles, perhaps a hangover from his

childhood ambition to be Jacques Cousteau.

As for the future of financial services, he sees the biggest issues as the

dichotomy between new charging structures and the customer&#39s requirement

for advice.

“Our research shows that people want advice but the proposed margins make

it hard to deliver. Our solution is to build scale and grow the business

organically. We need to write a bigger volume of business,” he says.

As a former IFA, does he have any tips to help IFAs flourish in this

environment? He suggests “an entrepreneurial flair, understanding the

customer and a commitment to giving sound advice”


IFA involvement in stakeholder vital says network

DBS claims IFA involvement in stakeholder is vital for its success.The network says that currently 60 per cent of personal pensions are arranged by IFAs, making their role is sales of stakeholder essential.DBS believe the needs of the self-employed and the small business are best served by IFAs and the extension of stakeholder availability to […]

Gartmore chief execs withdraw their resignations

Gartmore has announced its two chief executives have reneged on their plans to resign from the fund manager according to the Financial Times.Andrew Brown and David Watts both tendered their resignations in the aftermath of parent company NatWest&#39s proposals to buy Legal & General.The withdrawal of their resignations has raised speculation that Gartmore&#39s senior executives […]

L&G open to offers

Legal & General has confirmed it is still in the market for a financial services partner despite the abandonment of its proposed tie up with NatWest according to the Financial Times.The life office says it still believes in bancassurance but only with the right partner.Since Bank of Scotland threw the cat amongst the pigeons with […]

Treasury plays down mortgage regulation

The Treasury has played down hopes of statutory mortgage regulation according to the Financial Times.The FT says the senior civil servant in charge of financial services at the Treasury Paula Diggle suggested government intervention would create a further barrier to new entrants and would slow the home buying process.Diggle dismissed calls for regulation from lenders […]


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