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Charcol will take high-net-worth role in B&B plan

Bradford & Bingley is launching a two-tier advice strat-egy, with John Charcol and CharcolOnline advisers targeting higher-net-worth clients and B&B advisers left to service the mass market.

The move is part of a mix-and-match distribution strategy which will see Charcol leading the way in the advice-based strategy.

The strategy, revealed to Money Marketing by CharcolOnline managing director Toby Strauss, will see Charcol advisers targeting high-net-worth clients and those in “complex” situations who need a tailor-made approach.

B&B advisers will be encouraged to pass on clients in these categories to Charcol RIs.

B&B will also introduce mortgage broking into its branch network through MarketPlace at B&B. The brokerage is being piloted at branches in the North-west and South-east but will be available through all branches in the first half of next year.

Strauss says Charcol will be using its expertise to train B&B staff under the direction of former John Charcol managing director Ian Darby.

Both channels intend to expand. Advisers will be slotted into the best role for them and a training programme is being formulated to take more advisers up to AFPC and Certified Financial planner level.

Last week, John Charcol rebranded as Charcol in a bid to go back to its financial adviser roots and in anticipation of a closer working relationship with the online operation.

The Charcol office now runs under the theme “two brands, multiple channels and one platform”.

But Strauss admits it will be some time before traditional B&B customers are ready to buy online. He says: “We are focusing on executing our strategy to become an multi-channel intermediary. I do not think we will be bought by a provider because that will take us back to the beginning.”

l Profile, p35

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