Standard Life has successfully turned itself around to be an IFA favorite, developing extensive Internet support for the market. The Edinburgh-based life office has launched the Navigator e-commerce services, which is designed to meet the needs of all IFAs offering online access to application forms and to servicing departments at every stage in the sales process. It also offers training and development for IFAs in other areas such as recruitment, business planning, branding, client retention and lead generation. Corporate affairs director Gordon Arthur says: "This award regonises the determined effort Standard Life has made over recent years to position itself as a leading UK life office. Achievement in one particular year is admirable but no longer sufficient in today's highly competitive environment. Success is impossible without consistency, something which Standard Life has worked hard to achieve."
Scottish Widows has been a key participant in delivering G10 and G60 training to IFAs and the life office has a permanent team on the road trying to help IFAs gain advanced qualifications. Widows was one of the first off the mark to offer a telesales services in response to IFA requests and the life office actively solicits feedback from the market-place in an effort to keep its services up to scratch. IFA sales director Sandy Hogg says: "It is always encouraging to receive an award but when that award is in recognition of performance over an entire decade, it is received with even greater appreciation. This is another spur for us to redouble our efforts to meet IFAs' needs in the future."
Fidelity has consistently been in the top five over the years due to its commitment to IFA support and its innovative use of new media. The investment manager was the first to offer online Isa account-opening facilities for IFAs it has introduced a tailored KFD Internet service to make life simpler for the IFA market. Earlier this year, Fidelity launched a promotional campaign highlighting the need for advice. Fidelity Investment? UK wholesale marketing associate director David Cowdell says: "This unique award means a lot to us because it represents the views of thousands of IFAs who who each year for the last 10 years have recognised our dedication to product design and innovation, customer service and marketing."
Skandia was singled out by IFAs for Platinum award for its commitment to IFA servicing and its innovative products. The life office's USelect asset allocation and fund selection software tool has been well received by the market. Skandia's continued commitment to service is also evidenced by the continuously upgraded regional support offered to IFAs. Its pioneering multi-manager approach to investment has also proved popular. Senior group marketing manager Andre Oszmann says: We are delighted to be recognised for our efforts we have put in for IFAs. It is particularly gratifying given we are still a relatively young company and the calibre of the other Platinum winners, which are practically household names. It makes all the hard work worth while. We are singularly focussed on IFAs and it shows."
Norwich Union has gone through several changes to its corporate structure over the past few years but has endeavored not to lose sight of its mantra, "putting the IFA first", which qualifies it for an MM Platinum award. The life office has pioneered the use of business television, providing coverage of the issues that matter to the Ifa market and specifically tailoring the services to IFAs' needs. It has managed to do so without using it as a platform for self-promotion. It has also been instrumental in helping Ifs enter new markets and service clients by issuing innovative marketing packages, which incorporate new media. Long-term savings chief executive Philip Scott says: "We are delighted with the award for our performance over the last decade. It is a testament to our commitment to provide IFAs with first rate products, outstanding customer service and innovative marketing support."