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B&W in£40m Willis Nat buy

Bristol & West is to buy IFA Willis National from joint owners Willis Group and mortgage rival Abbey National for£40m.

Financed by parent Bank of Ireland Group, B&W says the purchase of Money Marketing&#39s Corporate IFA of the Year will diversify its advice.

Money Marketing reported last month that Abbey and Willis Group were reviewing their shareholdings.

B&W plans to merge Willis with its web-based advisory service Moneyextra, which it bought last year, to create a single organisation with internet, phone and face-to-face advice. B&W will use the Willis brand for six months, after which it is expected to come under the Moneyextra banner.

It was attracted by Willis National&#39s size with 300 staff and 18 branches and because it gets 60 per cent of its income in pension and corporate business – areas where it believes it can build business.

B&W chief executive Jeff Warren says: “The purchase will complement our activities, accelerate the development of Moneyextra and add the important specialism of workplace advice.”

Willis National chairman and chief executive Jeremy Budden says: “This is excellent news for the Willis team. We look forward to the opportunities for growth.”

Scottish Amicable national mortgage manager John Malone says: “As the market becomes more and more contracted on the back of polarisation I see further deals of this nature taking place.”


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