With the onset of stakeholder at least two years away, the life and pensions industry is gearing up to fight the battle of its life according to market analysts Datamonitor.
The analysts believe that currently only seven companies are geared up to compete in the post stakeholder era.
It names the companies as Standard Life, Prudential, Axa, Norwich Union, CGU, Legal & General and Scottish Widow as those able to compete.
But Datamonitor casts a warning to the other 70 plus life offices. It says the current financial and competitive market pressures, the present economic climate and a number of prowling global players wanting to enter the UK market means other companies will follow Scottish Widows and NPI's lead and shake off their mutual status.
To win the survival battle, Datamonitor says there are four vital weapons, critical mass to leverage large client bases, low cost distribution channels, strong fund management and a strong brand.