BSkyB is aiming to revolutionise the UK financial services market with a new interactive digital TV channel dedicated to IFAs and other intermediaries.
The multi-million-pound venture has the working title of The Financial Channel and aims to offer product providers a platform to communicate with IFAs, provide news and analysis and offer interactive continuing prof es sional development.
BSkyB has already launched business-to-business channels for the automotive and drinks industries. It says it identified the financial services sector as dynamic but also one in need of a new approach to raising standards and best practice.
The company is seeking input from across the industry to help shape the strategy and content of the channel. Sky will also offer a parallel website and extranet service. The move could have a serious impact on common trading platforms such as Ass-ure web, The Exchange and M-link as well as the way that IFAs are trained.
BSkyB head of development Bruce Cuthbert says: “We are in preliminary discussions with providers, the regulator and trade bodies. One of the core planks of this is training and providing a cost-effective platform for providers and broker consultants. We are looking to help raise standards and ultimately to offer consumers a better deal.”
Initial reaction from IFAs and providers looks hopeful for Sky's latest venture, with Standard Life and Norwich Union both welcoming the move.
Maddison Monetary Management managing director Mark Howard says: “It is a very positive move. Anything which proactively supports the ind ustry must get the thumbs-up from advisers. Interactive TV is the future and many IFAs are more susceptible to digital TV than they are to the internet.”
Scottish Life head of communications Alasdair Buch anan says: “If the cost basis of this stacks up, this sounds a very interesting proposition. It makes training a lot more accessible and could remove the need for advisers to congregate at life offices.”
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