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Clerical delays return to market

Clerical Medical has admitted it will not be ready to re-enter the group stakeholder market for several more months after failing to clear its seven-month backlog of cases.

The company pulled out of the group market in August last year after its systems collapsed under the strain of thousands of stakeholder applications.

It pledged to re-enter the market during the first quarter of this year but admits that it has been forced to push this back to late summer, fearing that its systems could rem-ain incapable of dealing with potential demand.

However, some IFAs claim Clerical is stalling for time and is unlikely to re-enter the market at all, preferring to concentrate on individual business.

They claim other providers are also likely to be reconsidering their position in the market, citing Norwich Union&#39s recent decision to slash commission on its shorter-term stakeholder products.

Roberts Clark director Jo Roberts says: “I do not think Clerical will come back in but most of the providers are beginning to feel the pinch. If they cannot make a profit then why should they bother?”

Clerical pensions strategy manager Nigel Stammers says: “We are not going to rush back, we have to be resilient enough to take the volume. We are still clearing backlogs so we will not re-enter for several months. An announcement will be made closer to the time.”


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