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Friends confirms closure of direct sales operation

Friends Provident has confirmed it is closing its direct sales operation following a review of its distribution strategy. Friends says about 500 staff will be affected, including the sales force, of whom 150 may become self-employed appointed reps.

The move means Friends will focus on distributing its products through IFAs, the enlarged AP channel and strategic partners.

Friends estimates the closure will save it £18m annually from 2004 onwards.

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