Family Assurance is restructuring its business into three divisions, which will form the Family Assurance Group.
The reorganisation will include a new company called Family Enterprise, which will explore opportunities arising from the greater freedom that friendly societies will enjoy when the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 comes into force at N2.
The original Family Assurance will continue to offer taxfree savings plans while a third division – Corporate Services – will provide back-up services such as compliance and risk operations to the group.
The restrictions imposed on friendly societies under the Financial Services Act 1992 will be abolished on the date of N2, allowing fri-endly societies to offer third-party admin and a greater range of financial services.
The restructuring comes at a time when the Association of Friendly Societies is increasing pressure on the Treasury to abolish the restrictions before the introduction of N2.
However, the Treasury does not want to bring in changes on a piecemeal basis and is concerned that friendly societies would not be regulated in their new activities prior to N2.
Family Assurance Group chief executive John Reeve says: “The next decade will offer significant opportunities for friendly societies and the mutual proposition.
“The restructuring means that we are in the best possible position to seize those opportunities and invigorate our business.”
AFS general secretary Marion Poole says: “We do not need to hang around for an N2 deadline which could be in 2002.
“The FSA would have an overriding power to regulate new areas of business.”